Alice Faye, my mother’s mother and my last grandparent, died today. She had been unwell for a time now, and the end was not unexpected. She lived and died in the deep bayou country Louisiana, southwest of New Orleans. She had four children – one daughter (my mother) and then three younger sons. These children eventually gave Faye many grandchildren, allowing her to adopt the persona of Granny Faye, of which she was so very proud. So much so that she even began referring to herself on various online outlets as “GrannyFayeinLA”. This moniker is what family, and eventually even my friends, knew my grandmother as.
I always loved visiting Granny Faye in LA on my many trips passing between South Carolina and my various affairs out west. We always had all the same grandma-sort of discussions, but what made me so happy was how visibly and wonderfully happy it made her to get to see me and my brother. It seemed her sole mission to toot the horns of all her family members, and she enjoyed so much getting to learn of all the stories of new accomplishments of her children and grandchildren.
Exemplifying this was her many amazing grandma-y comments on my blogs that I posted while traveling around Southeast Asia. Here are a sampling that are direct copy/pastes from my old travel blog:
- Trav, My heart is HEAVY for “NOW!”…..but….I can’t wait for the NEXT CHAPTER in YOUR “BOOK OF LIFE!”….love you granny faye
- I can’t wait for the BOOK and the MOVIE!Travis, I have been on the TRIP OF MY LIFE….(with you)I told you that you should make a BOOK of your TRIP….and ….NOW…I say and “HOLD ON TO THE MOVIE RIGHTS!”….What an ENDING to a GREAT YEAR….YOU TRUELY are BLESSED…YOU KNOW how to “GET the BEST out of EVERY DAY”!….I sure hope comeing home won’t be a LET DOWN!….YOU have been living a DREAM….WHAT a MEMORY YOU HAVE (for the rest of your life)….I am sooooooooo PROUD OF YOU….YOU ARE ONE GREAT YOUNG MAN…..love you, granny faye
- WHAT A TRIP! Travis, I am trying to catch my breath…WHAT A TRIP!….YOU are one SPECIAL GUY!…THE MEMORIES you are makeing are so SPECIAl….YOU are ABLE TO SEE the BEAUTY in the people you come in contact with…I keep waiting for the NEXT ADVENTURE that you go on….IT BLESSES ME…love you,stay safe….. granny faye
- TRUELY ENJOYING YOUR TRIP WITH YOU……Travis….YOUR comments are BEAUTIFUL…..I hope you are able to put ALL YOUR TRAVELS into a book….You have a “calling” as a writer…..YOU make it ALL soooooo beautiful……stay safe…..granny faye
- YOU MAKE ME PROUD! HI Trav, This TRIP with you is AWESOME….You could be a writer for NATIONAL GEO…….(you make WORD PICTURES with your discreptions)…..I wish you safe travels and HAPPY MEMORIES…..I am sure that your MOM “NEVER” thought she would get a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” from you PETTING A TIGER……I know she loves “CATS” ……but…..I bet she never wanted her SON to be so INTERACTIVE with such a BIG ONE….ha ha…I am so HAPPY FOR YOU……REMEMBER ….. ” LIFE IS YOUR REWARD!”……Make MANY MEMORIES…..They will be with you FOREVER…..love you grannyfaye
As silly and stream-of-consciousness as these misuses of quotations, capitalization, italics, and ellipses must seem to those who never knew her, these comments demonstrate well how Granny Faye spent her life. With unbridled and unashamed zeal for those she loved. And with so much ardor to force out, something like traditional grammar was laughably inept.
It wasn’t just her comments on my blogs, it was every conversation with her, every visit, every discussion of how my uncles and cousins are doing. She simply had an interpersonal warmth that radiated energy. Another example of her eagerness to maintain important relationships was that less than a year ago while in a nursing home, Granny Faye remarried for a fourth time and was granted the ability to sleep in the same room as her new husband. I never met the man she married, but my mother told me he was a gentleman, and she was happy that Granny Faye was able to have good company close to her in the home. For nothing made her happier than being able to smile, and laugh, and love with others.
When I think of Granny Faye in LA and how she would focus so steadfastly on the positive aspects of life, even when she became increasingly surrounded by dire and morbid circumstances, its quite obvious to me that her only worry would be making those she loved feel grief. It’s those of us that remain living that need to engage in collective sadness with the others that endure. We weep for our own loss, not out of empathy for the one we loved so dearly. Isn’t it quite selfish? Why wouldn’t those that pass want to be remembered and celebrated joyfully, with laughter and love? Granny Faye’s ethos, her legacy, persists both biologically and psychologically. What more can she or any of us hope for? Is that not worth celebrating? So celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain! When I remember Granny Faye, I will not weep, but smile. I will do my best to follow her example of appreciating every day and every person within those days. And I’ll do my very best to love as she loved, with passion and vigor and without regret.