What a fabulous Mother’s Day weekend. My husband and I spent the weekend at the beach and found this really cool restaurant in Jacksonville, NC that reminded me of Jacksonville, Florida. There was even a parrot. It was an awesome, all about me weekend. But I wasn’t completely selfish. I spent Friday with my folks and had a great time.
I took my parents lunch on Friday, complete with a dozen Subway cookies and a collapsible garden rake for my mom. She loves working in her flowers but Dad frequently misplaces her rake. The one I got her folds down so she can hide it from him. Then mom and I spent the afternoon going through some old family photos.
Going through those pictures with my mom meant so much. I brought most of them home with me so I can scan them and burn them to discs. Some are so frayed and faded, it’s hard to see the faces clearly. In that old box of photographs that once belonged to my grandmother, there was even pictures of my great, great, grandparents. I haven’t scanned those yet, but when I do, I’ll post a blog dedicated to ancestors.
In the ones I’ve gone through so far, the most heart wrenching is a picture of my grandfather sitting on the front porch holding his three month old daughter. My dad and his brother are standing on either side of him, looking somewhat confused. My grandfather looks sad and weary. With good reason. His baby girl was dead and had been for several hours.
The child died in her crib while my grandmother was visiting her parents in Virginia. It was sometime around 1940. There were no laws regulating the transport of bodies and so my great uncle drove my grandmother home with her dead child. The baby had never been photographed. And so, my grandfather posed with his daughter’s cold, blue body so his wife would have pictures of her only daughter.
It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about the courage that must have taken. On her part for bringing her child home to her daddy and on his part for holding his dead daughter so his wife could have that all precious photograph.
My grandparents are both gone now,. They’re once again united with that little girl they knew such a brief time. But I’m sure my dad thinks of his mom on this day and remembers all the things she did for him and the sacrifices she made.
I’m blessed to still have my parents with me and would like to take this moment to wish my mother a very happy Mother’s Day. Love you, Mom.
Andris Bear said:
Oh Lilly, I don't like this post at all. That picture breaks my heart a thousand times over. I can't imagine that pain. I truly believe losing a child is the most powerful Hell on Earth. Glad your Mother's day was good!
Lilly Gayle said:
That picture has always haunted me. My grandmother kept it framed in her bedroom. She never talked to the grandchildren about it. My mother shared the story with me. I don't remember most of the details, but the baby supposedly died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Now days, they call it crib death. I was terrified to let my babies sleep when they were little. I was scared they'd die in their sleep. I became such a light sleeper, rushing into their rooms to check on them if they got too quiet or made a sound in their sleep that I am a light sleeper still and my babies are grown.
I loved spending time with you and going through the old pictures. Thank you for my rake. It is a perfect gift. Kathryn would have been my age had she lived. She was born in Aug. 1938 and died in Oct. just before turning 3 months. I also lived with that fear and if y'all slept too soundly I woke you just to be sure you were breathing.
Lilly Gayle said:
Thanks Mom. Love you.
I so understand you and your mother's pain. My nephew died of a brain tumor and my father died of a cerebral hemorrhage on May 5, 1964, when I was 20 years old and my brother died on March 14, 1997 of a cerebral hemorrhage too. The hardest pain has to be losing a child especially one so young. Your mother is just as strong as your grandmother. What great genes you have! Hugs!Becky
Lilly Gayle said:
You are always so sweet and supportive. Thanks, Becky!