My Grandma Freda departed this side of life one year ago today. On Monday May 17, 2021 she quietly slipped away from this side of life. In the last year, there has not been one day that I have not thought of her, most times those thoughts are accompanied by tears. It’s difficult for me to write about Grandma Freda, because just thinking about the fact that she is gone still hurts in an indescribable way. I know that she’ll always be with me in spirit but her physical presence meant the world to me and not having that is something I have yet to adjust to. I can always hear her voice saying “Just as sure as you’re born you’re going to die.” I just never prepared myself for living a life that did not include the huge presence of Alfreda V. Regans Delaware in it. I‘m grateful that although Grandma Freda’s death has left a huge hole in all our hearts and an empty chair at the head of our dinner table, we (her family) won’t ever stop speaking her name. She embedded a part of herself in all of us and left us with a multitude of memories. We owe tremendous gratitude to our life’s crossing guard for all that we are and ever will be.💜
I’ve been trying to write this blog post for several days, but every moment that I was able to still myself I ended up in a battle with my emotions and was badly defeated by an uncontrollable flow of tears so I just couldn’t write anything until now.
In Celebrating My Family’s Crossing Guard #61 (posted February 5, 2019) I wrote about my maternal grandmother, my Grandma Freda who on that day was celebrating her 95th birthday. I hope everyone who pays attention to my blog has a chance to read that post.
Twenty days ago, on Monday May 17, 2021 my grandma’s tour of duty as our family crossing guard ended as she quietly slipped away from this life and onto the next. The last twenty days just haven’t seemed real to me, it is like I’m walking around in a long somber dream, but sadly I am fully awake and in real life. I saw my grandma alive on this side of life for the last time on Sunday May 16, just one day before her death. It was so very painfully obvious that death was near, Grandma wasn’t at all herself. I’m not sure that she even recognized my mother and I, because her reaction to our presence was not at all the same as usual. It was like she was in a daze. I’d like to think that her mind was completely focused on the transition she was preparing for. I hope that she had her mind set on going to a place where she will no longer be sick & weak, a paradisiacal place where her strength will be renewed eternally.
Even though while sitting in her bedroom on that Sunday afternoon, crying & praying, I figured that Grandma Freda’s time with us, on this side of life was coming to an end; I absolutely never for one second imagined that her final hours in this life would be the very next day. I never thought that the next time I would see her, it would only be her body, the shell that held her awesome soul for 97 years, laying in a casket. God hasn’t given me the talent or vocabulary to put into words just how painful that was for me.
If you knew Grandma Freda then you know that showing affection was in no way her thing, she was never the hugs & kisses type of person, although she didn’t show love in affectionate ways I can only think of one time in my life when I questioned her love for me. I won’t go into any detail but I’ll say, it was a time in my life when I was young and I had to live and learn, but I was soon reminded by God that my Grandma Freda loved me with her whole heart. I can’t remember a time in nearly 39 years when Grandma didn’t have a strong presence in my life. I can remember in elementary school I was in plays reenacting The Wizard of Oz and The Three Bears which must have been before my extreme stage fright developed, but anyway Grandma Freda was sitting in the front row with my parents and my Aunt Zel each time. I got very delicious homemade birthday cakes until the age of 37 and any birthday party or dinner that I ever had Grandma was always right there.
Grandma could be a bit hardcore sometimes, at 805 you lived by her rules and she didn’t play, it was her way and literally no other way. I can remember only one time that she spanked my hands when I was a little girl, but my memory fails when trying to recall the reason for the spanking, whatever it was I never did it again because I never wanted to suffer grandma’s wrath in that way again. Through all the medical procedures I have had in my life I always knew that she was a praying grandmother who has sent numerous prayers from her lips to God’s ears for me, not just through my endurance of medical procedures but on a daily basis. I can always hear her telling me “just trust in God.”
Having a conversation with Grandma Freda has always been like being at school. In her classes (conversations, be it phone or in person) there was always a multitude of lessons and sometimes there would even be homework assignments. Homework assignments would be reading a specific scripture or looking up information on someone like Paul Lawrence Dunbar. She taught useful life lessons that will never be printed in any textbook. Grandma would teach everything from Sex Ed. to Sunday school and any & everything in between in one conversation regardless of if you had time to listen or not, she didn’t care because it was always something she felt like we needed to know. If you’ve known her for a long time I’m sure you’ve gotten a lesson or two about the “sponge” and the egg in only the way that she could teach it.
Grandma Freda could be very tough sometimes but deep underneath her tough exterior lived her very kind and loving side, if she loved you then you know exactly what I mean. As I said on a Facebook post soon after her death, I have several items of clothing that I can’t wear and some broken jewelry that she gave me simply because she wanted me to have them and those are items that I will cherish for the rest of my days in this life.
I’m not sure I know anyone else who possesses the faith in God that Grandma Freda did, I’m not sure if she ever found herself questioning God, she always seemed to trust in God and his plans. She taught all of her offspring to have that same faith in God and that no matter what your occupation in this life is or what material things you are afforded, only what you do for Christ will last. I’ll always remember when I decided to give my life to Christ, be baptized & join her beloved Beulah Land Church, she was so excited and happy, her only criticism was that I was 16 years old and should’ve done it at a younger age. Happy and exciting times in life with Grandma Freda were usually mixed with a little criticism, especially if you weren’t doing things her way.
I could probably write a novel about the special bond that I had with my Grandma Freda since the day of my birth, but I won’t right now because I’m sure this long blog post gives you just an inkling of what her strong presence in my life meant to me. I wholeheartedly believe that Grandma will always have her hand on the lives of me and the rest of her family, she’ll always be making sure we do life her way.
I know that Grandma Freda was 97 years old and God blessed her with a good life. I know that she hasn’t been in the best of health for a little over a year now. I know that the bible which she belived in so wholeheartedly says Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:13 KJV. ) I’ll always remember Grandma Freda saying “just as sure as you’re born you’re going to die. ” I know all of the above-mentioned, but selfishly all of those things are in the back of my mind at this moment. Her death came much to soon for me. I had her in my life for nearly 39 years, I’m grateful for those years but I wanted just a few more days.
It is so extremely excruciatingly painful accepting the fact that Grandma Freda is gone, but I’m trying to do like she taught me and trust in God and accept his plans. I pray that I am living a life worthy of transitioning to that paradisiacal place I believe Grandma Freda and many other loved ones have gone to so that we will be reunited someday.
My tough as nails but loving grandmother Alfreda V. Regans Delaware Feb. 5, 1924 – May 17, 2021 She used her dash well.
If you have paid any attention to many of the words that I’ve shared on my blog, then you know that thoughts and memories of my daddy are always on my mind. As a teenage girl I never thought that at the age I am now I would be living without my daddy and even after twenty years it’s still extremely difficult for me to wrap my mind around the fact that he’s just gone from my life until I hopefully see him in another world.
Father’s Day was four days ago and I’ve probably said it before but since daddy’s death it’s always a day filled with mixed emotions for me, it’s like on Father’s Day either I’m fine and it’s just a normal day or I’m filled with a deep sadness that I can’t seem to suppress, no matter how hard I try. This year on Father’s Day I thought to myself “I’ll write about my feelings” but I set down to write and I just could not get my thoughts straight so I decided to try again another day.
Today when I set down in my quiet place where I go to collect my thoughts and write I tried to come up with so many other topics to write about besides my daddy, because I never set out for my blog to be “the grieving daughter blog” but it seems that I can’t help myself when it comes to writing about my daddy I cannot control my pen, it feels like my thoughts are writing themselves. I feel like if I can help just one person who reads my words about my daddy or any other topic then my writing and my living is not in vain.
A few days ago on Father’s Day, I began to wonder “what would Daddy think?” What would Daddy think about that condition this country is in? What would Daddy think about the fact that Donald Trump is the president. I’m sure Daddy would have something funny but thought provoking to say about President Trump. I look at my awesome nephew and I think “what would Daddy think about having a grandson that’s like him in so many ways?” One question that came to mind that’s more important to me than the others is “what would Daddy think of me? Would he be proud of the person I am? It’s actually something that I think of quite often and maybe I’m crazy but, even though my daddy is no longer living physically he will always live in my heart so I still worry about making him proud. I want him to look upon me from Heaven with pride in his eyes. Is it crazy that I want my deceased father to be proud of me?
I often wonder if Daddy would be upset with me, because according to societal standards I haven’t made much of myself in the twenty years since his death. I wonder if Daddy would be proud of me because like both my parents I have a good heart (too good at times) and I try to always treat people with kindness. I wonder what Daddy would think about the man and father that brother is growing into each day? Does Daddy feel like his children who suffered the loss of his presence in their lives so suddenly and were forced to grow up/mature without him are good people? Is he proud of the relationship we have with our awesome mother who he loved wholeheartedly? Are we in some way(s) a disappointment to Daddy?
These questions and so many more about how my daddy would feel about certain things if he were still alive are always running through my mind and it’s still so very difficult to fully accept that there’s no way for all my questions to be answered, because Daddy is gone.
I’ve been going through some of my old journals trying to combine all my writings that I want to keep up with and store them all in one place. I came across something that I wrote in December of 2000 and it triggered my thoughts. It was a year after my daddy died and at that point in time I was thinking a lot about death and how the death of a loved one affects those that are still living, those who are left to mourn/grieve that person. In my journal from that year I wrote several times about death because my daddy’s death had a very profound affect on me and my thoughts.
My journal entry from December 19, 2000 was about the terms that are used for death. We say the person has “passed away” and we say to the bereaved family “I’m sorry for your loss.”and I have never understood why we do that. It seems as though we avoid using the words death,died or dead. I think I partially believe it is because under the circumstances we just do not know exactly what to say to the bereaved but also because using those words gives permanency to the situation and death is a very difficult thing to accept.
After my daddy died I absolutely hated to hear people say, “I’m sorry for your loss.”maybe I am thinking about it far too literally but when something or someone is lost it/they can be looked for and possibly found, my daddy and all others who die are physically completely gone from this life, as much as all of us who grieve our loved ones who have left this life would like we cannot form a search party and go looking for them so they are definitely not lost. In the previously mentioned journal entry I wrote that I don’t understand why people use the term “passed away ” my thoughts about that have certainly changed. 2 Corinthians 5:5-10 speaks about being absent from the body and being present with the Lord. After thinking about it for the past few years I have formed the belief that once you have accomplished God’s purpose for your birth into this life, your death or end of this life occurs and you pass on to a place where you will have eternal life fulfilling whatever purposes God has for you there so I do believe that people pass away to another life.
My grandmother always says “just as sure as you’re born you’re going to die, we didn’t come here to stay.” I think that death should be something that we can have straightforward discussions about while remaining respectful to one another and not sugar coating the topic because it is an inevitable part of life.