Dearly Departed: Open Letter to Granny

Liz & James V. White

See that? See the way he looks at her? That’s love. It’s the same love I heard echoed in his quiet conversations in her now empty room and the same love I saw written in the way he smelled the last garment she wore, the one he clung to days after her passing.

We lost my Grandmother on Saturday, September 28th. She’d been battling cancer for quite some time and hospice had stepped in when medicine could do no more just over a month ago. Still, it was hard to watch this once vibrant woman slowly withdraw. She was a fighter until the end – that was my Granny’s way – but I don’t envy the position she found herself in, or the pain my Granddaddy, Mama, Uncle and other relatives had to witness her suffer through in those final days.

Granny, if you’re listening…

I want you to know we already miss you terribly. Everyone’s holding on, though, so please don’t worry anymore. If you ever questioned Granddaddy’s adoration of you over your sixty years together, stop. I’ve never seen a stronger man cry. Don’t you worry about that either, though – it never takes too long for him to remember your advice that he suck it up and “stop being a wuss”.

Already I miss your wicked sense of humor. I’ll miss the breakfast you always made me eat, the tinsel-strewn tree at Christmas time, the endless Law & Order episodes and the house coat you always donned.

You were a gorgeous woman, Nancy Elizabeth White – house coat, hair curlers and all, inside and out. I was reminded of just how beautiful you were as the photos rolled at your viewing. It was nice to see your smiling face and be reminded of those happy times.

During your service, the Chaplin reminded us of the three things you most wanted us to remember: 1) Family is all important. 2) Never give up. 3) Always know you tried. I know that, Granny. We all do. I like to think I get my dogged sense of determination from you, but the truth is you suffered a much harder life than I ever could have imagined. In spite of that, you elevated your family to a place far greater than the one from whence you came. I hope you left this realm aware of that.

You also represented one half of the only marriage I knew to be a constant throughout my life. When nothing else felt firm, you and Granddaddy always represented a solid foundation capable of withstanding the toughest storm. Thank you for the example. I’ve modeled my own relationship after it (give or take some nagging here and there). ;-]

I promise to pick up where you left off and keep pestering Tyler about his school attendance, and Beth about quitting smoking, and I’ll do my best to make sure everyone still gets together and behaves. In the meantime, may you go in peace, knowing that you eternally live on in each of us.

I love you, Granny. Please give Kimi, Aunt Tina and Aunt Louise a hug for me. I’ll see you on the other side.

– Jessie

Nancy Elizabeth “Liz” (Hardin) White – Feb. 25, 1940 – Sep. 28, 2013

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6 thoughts on “Dearly Departed: Open Letter to Granny

  1. Livonne says:

    Oh you brought tears to my eyes.. I’ve no doubt she’s watching over you and glowing with pride at that beautiful tribute to her. continue to honor her memory with your life. You are the legacy she left the world. 🙂

  2. Barb says:

    Jess, I am sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your beloved Granny. Well done.

  3. Linda says:

    Incredible! You have spoken for countless ones who could not summon the words in their own time of grief! God bless you and your family with His marvelous peace.

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