This past Friday my granny died....granny who never drove a day of her life, granny who didn't finish school, granny who only saw the ocean once, granny who at one time thought she had worms under her skin so she picked at her skin until she had sores all over her b/c she thought she was getting the worms out...granny who I never got extremely close to b/c my Dad didn't think we should be around my Mom's family much.
My Mom's family lives in rural south Georgia. There are many pine trees, lots of open country, primitive churches, lots of teenage pregnancies, lots of illiteracy and lots of abuse. My mother lived in poverty when she was young and my Granny gave her up to an aunt and uncle when she was 14. That aunt and uncle took real good care of my mom, probably the reason why I am here today b/c chances are my mom would have ended up marrying a backwoods preacher or a drunk if she'd have stayed there.
The latest drama in the family includes: a cousin who poisoned his mom and dad's cat, an aunt who is on so many prescription drugs that she hullucinates about people banging on her windows at night and helicopters flying over her house searching for members of an elite drug ring, a cousin who was in a car crash that killed people, a cousin who is taking care of her schizophrenic mom and schizophrenic sister, aunts who went to the nursing home immediately after my granny died to collect possessions that they gave her, my grandpa selling his prescription meds to young people, cousin who strips for a living and makes big bucks..........some of these things are true and some of them I hope are not true.
When someone dies in my Mom's family, everyone comes together...which is a big deal considering my Mother is one of eleven children, I'm one of 23 grandchildren, and there are many great grandchildren. Yes, everyone gets together and sings old hymnals, talks about how Granny is finally in heaven, and gossips about the latest family scandals.
I can't help but think that all of this is why religion is so strong in the rural south. Many people live depressing and wasteful lives. If they didn't have heaven and God to cling on to, what purpose would there be to their depressing lives? My granny made babies but didn't take care of them much and my grandpa was an alcoholic...she sat by the window looking out letting the days pass by in her sorrow and she wrote poems about it. Here's one of them....I think she was a beautiful poet.
When I die please don't weep,
I am not dead, I'm only asleep;
My body will rise, when the trumpet blows,
And with my savior I shall go;
My Heavenly Host my Lord and Savior,
With him I shall live forever;
When I die please don't weep,
I am not dead I'm only asleep.
Asleep in Jesus,Oh how I yearn,
For my Lord and Savior to return;
He will gather His children both young and old,
Onto His bosom He shall hold.
So much glory, so much love,
Forever with Jesus in Heaven above
My Granny's poetry and her children are her only physical legacies she left behind. They wept for her heavily regardless of the fact that most of them have extremely tattered lives. I suppose this is what family is and I suppose this is what having God means...being able to forgive and forget so they can come together to comfort eachother in times of sadness.