I have written so many irrelevant things here lately ….the kind that you just ehh and hold the delete button down because it bares no resemblance to what is going on in my life. I don’t even know if I can manage words out of all this but I am going to try.
We lost a precious soul this week, someone who poured her heart into the children of Bryan County her whole life, she retired and then went back(who does that?). She knows more history than I could ever tell you, she told me the history of Fort Washita a week or so ago better than a book could have, she was a teacher in every sense of the word. I will forever remember the incredible retro furniture in the formal living room that we spend every Christmas Eve in while I was young, and how that room served so many different purposes as the years went on. My mama passed away when I was 3, and that has always been a source of heartache for me, because I longed to know her and she was the main source of my Ancestry.com addiction – side note I now know that my mama’s great something or another was married to Davey Crockett (hahah go figure) Joan told me everything about mama, we shared green eyes with my dad and she told tireless stories, the 3 years I got to see her once a week for her wash and set may have been the most precious to me, we shared heartache, we shared joy but most of all she told me of the good old days. She even managed to call my salon for a full year after I left leaving me messages- nothing brought a bigger smile to my face.
Her hair was always done, her jewelry collection every girls dream, but the thing I hold dearest is how fiercely she loved- every person who stepped in her path for 50+ years at the school knew that they were loved, they were worthy, and that she believed in them. There was no prouder moment than to have her name on the side of that school building she devoted her life to.
I can remember lots of things from her house, it was so cozy, my dad and Chris seem to always have a basketball, we swam, it was the scene of several rodeo moments- my first pony being one of those, and to this day I am not sure I know what the outside of the front door looks like, it was always home never used the front door. I can’t put her into words but I can tell you that the world will feel her loss, she was a world changer.
I have seen a lot of things with her over this lifetime, including the passing of her oldest, Tom was a character in his own right, blind most of his life, he was so so smart and so funny but the moment I remember and always will, he was much like Joan always well groomed and he asked me to cut his hair nearing the end of our time with him, we were sitting in the kitchen and he asked me what color his hair was and I told him grey, then he asked “what color is mom’s?” I replied blonde. He would not believe me and she laughed hysterically trying to convince him she hadn’t aged a bit since he last lay eyes on her. My daughter said it best the other night, when she said “No matter how much we miss her, how exciting for her that she gets to see her mom and dad and Tommy.” Oh the words of a child, I keep telling myself the same as we watched her fade from us, my heart is breaking because each night my almost 2 year old prays for Memaw and Pepaw, and now I have to explain that they won’t see her again in this life. I want them to remember Homecoming parades, Dairy Queen dates, and reading to them.
Aunt Joan, watching you leave our world has been my hardest moments to date, I hope you hear me when I talk to you, I hope you know how loved you are and I hope you know I will carry you with me always, that I will watch out for your grandkids, and your greats and they will know what an incredible woman you were. I give you rest, I pray that when the father called you home and your reunion was glorious, I pray that Tom was so overjoyed at the sight of you that the pain in our hearts is dulled ten fold, that Mama and Papa have been waiting to wrap you in their arms so long and oh the life you will have to tell them about. I am better for what you taught me about family, I am better for what you taught me about taking care of people. I am one among a million who learned at your feet and I am grateful. You are proof you don’t have to be famous to change the world you just have to love those in front of you.