It was the week we took her off of life support. I know for SO many of us it was hands down the hardest week of our lives. It didn't rock our core…it flat knocked us to the ground.
If you can roll up despair, anger, fear, sadness, love, thankfulness and peace all into a one word description..that's the word I would use.
I'm not alone in this, I know. My mother in law was precious to so many people. I can't bare to put myself in my husband, brother, sisters, or Pops' shoes. Bless their sweet-precious hearts. It was a time that we shared like no other.
I think about that week often.
I think about the despair and anger. Of course I try not to dwell in the sadness but it certainly lingers. It is a most true and honest place, isn't it? It's horrible and refreshingly real all at the same time.
What I think of most about that week is the unexpected emotions. The love, thankfulness and peace that I felt. It left a lasting impact on my life and a hope that I will never forget.
We all waited night and day between our shifts to sit with Mammy. The waiting room was always filled to the brim. But I'm not sure why this surprised me, I should have known better. This woman was LOVED ya'll!
Tammy was an angel on earth. She was strong, she was faithful. She was giving and kind. I think she made dinner for 5 families before noon one day. She used to carry around money in her pocket ready if someone was in need.
She was the most humble, respectful grandmother I have ever known. She was joyful and fun! She was constant. She was wise and insightful. She was our strength. She was our glue. She was a woman after God's own heart!
She was this to everyone she knew. So can you imagine how many people wanted to show up and support her and her family. There were hundreds, no doubt.
Everyday there were warm meals delivered to the hospital from her community. Homemade meals, made with love…a buffet of comfort foods! Everyday there were warm arms and gentle pats for support. There were blankets and pillows provided to us from her church community. I don't think her preacher left the hospital that entire week. Generations of friends and family, generations of community flooded that floor.
I kept thinking. "How wonderful that we are all together." It felt like she had orchestrated it in some way, I hope that makes sense. I felt so much love pouring out from people. I was thankful, we all were thankful beyond measure.
People stepped in to help with our children, babysitters, friends and family. I've written how Mrs. Beth N. helped me! I was absolutely humbled and grateful.
My best friends did what best friends do. They show'd up. One flew from South Carolina in the middle of the night. Tenille!
The morning after Tammy passed, I needed to make a trip home and gather clothing and personals for the funeral. It was going to be a quick trip, in and out.
It was the first time I had been alone in over a week. It was as if our world had stopped in that hospital and all the while the rest of the world just kept moving. I felt the movement. I felt time speeding back up. I was overwhelmed.
I turned into my driveway and my brother had flown in from South Carolina to meet me. He was there. A rush of relief hit me. I couldn't speak though, one word and I might have just lost it. I wanted my big brother to make it all better. He couldn't. His sweet big hazel eyes, they helped.
Jeremie and I walked into a home that should have been a wreck. There should have been dog foot prints and mud all over the laundry room floor. There should have been an unswept-unmopped kitchen floor. There should have been yogurt finger prints all over the cabinets. We should have seen dirty windows and finger prints on televisions. The house should have smelled like it had been abandoned for 9 days. But it didn't.
I walked through my home, upstairs we went. We should have seen kids rooms with unmade beds and clothes everywhere, hampers filled to the brim. We should have seen toothpaste stains on bathroom cabinets. We should have seen dirty toilets and dirty showers. We should have seen a master closet with over flowing laundry. We should have seen trashcans filled. But we didn't.
Ya'll! They loved on me, they took care of me. They did exactly what Tammy would have done had she been there. My friends; Beth, Nikki and Alana snuck into my home and worked. They cleaned every nook and every cranny of that house. They washed every piece of dirty laundry. They scrubbed the ceilings to the floors. They plugged in wall scents and placed teddy bears on beds. The house sparkled. It was cleaned with love. They did it all! They mothered me. They loved on me.
I felt so much love that I broke down right there in my brothers arms. I cried, I cried loudly. I was beyond moved. I was humbled. I was grateful. I was changed that day.
That week I learned something about the human spirit. I saw a side of people that I will never forget. That week people were good to our family in ways that I could never imagine. In ways that I could never pay back.
People were hungry to give. People were hungry to help. People were hungry to love.
Mammy was hungry to give. She was hungry to help. She was hungry to love. I am forever grateful and forever changed.
This, in every sense of their service, is The Village.