Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Grandmother's Eyes, part two


One of the first things I ever wrote for DSG was a blog post called "My Grandmother's Eyes." I included art from DSG members, art that my grandmother would have loved. She loved bright colors. She couldn't see very well, and colors she saw were muted, so she tended to pick bright reds and greens and blues, oranges and pinks. She had a collection of ceramic cardinals that was legendary, and was even featured on a regional television show out of Houston, "The Eyes of Texas," some 30 years ago.

Two months ago my grandmother was ill, and we took her to the emergency room. She was in and out of the ICU at Huguley Hospital north of Burleson, Texas, for 12 days, and during some of that time she couldn't remember much, even from one minute to the next. When she came home we hoped she might pull out of it. She was feeling better, smiling, joking with everyone even though she couldn't speak above a whisper. We had arranged to have a hospital bed set up for her in her home, and my mother (who lived there already) was going to take care of her.

Over the next week my grandmother felt better, felt worse, was energetic and then tired, but on the eighth evening she went to sleep early and we could never wake her again. Two days later I quit my summer job with the Alvarado school district and moved in with my mother to help care for "Ma Ma." We barely slept, didn't eat enough, but we got into a sort of rhythm after a couple of days, trading the watch during the night so we both could sleep a little. And on the morning of my eighth day there, with my mother, my wife and myself holding her, my beautiful grandmother, Rupie Lee Johnson, passed away at age 98.

Ma Ma taught me many things in the 48 years I knew her. She taught me to cook, to garden, to take care of my family. But she mostly taught me to love unconditionally. She and my grandfather, Lenard Johnson, were the sweetest people I have ever met, period. I honor them by doing the things they would have done. I take care of my family, my mother included. I cook for them, often using Ma Ma's recipes. And I love them.

I needed to let you know why I have been absent from this blog for two months. I wish none of this had happened and that my grandmother was still living with my mother in Burleson, Texas, but that's not the way things worked out. I wouldn't trade a moment of the time I spent with Ma Ma over the last two months or the last 48 years.

I have selected a few new items for Ma Ma from a few DSG artists. These things jump out at me because they are things I would have bought for her as Christmas or birthday gifts. The reasons vary, and I'll not go into detail about any of them. I just know she would have loved them and she's probably smiling about my choices right now.

I love you, Ma Ma.


From: WindDancer Photos

From: Karen Faulkner Original Art

Japanese Maple Leaves No. 1
From: Terry Aske Art Quilts


From: Trillium Studios

6 comments:

Kristina Law said...

Dear Jay,

Thank you so much for your blog post. What a wonderful tribute to your Grand mother!
Thank you for sharing with us such a personal moment of your life.

Shane said...

Great piece; I love cardinals

Art2ArtColorado said...

This was a very moving piece to read and you have my heartfelt thoughts at the passing of your Grandmother. May her spirit shine on & on.

Amy C said...

a really beautiful tribute, she sounds like a wonderful and amazing person

Terry said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories of your grandmother. It was very touching ... you obviously had a wonderful relationship with her.

I am pleased and honored that you selected my Japanese maple leaves art quilt as one of the items she would have loved.

Rose Duffy said...

It is difficult when you loose someone who has added so much to your life, I am sorry for your loss. These colorful items that she would have loved are beautiful, just looking at them has made me smile, I thank you and your grandmother for the smile.

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