I am the second grandchild of many.
We belong to Carlton and Gertrude.
Carlton is a strong man. He always has had a strong love for the bottle. We call the liquor ‘candy’.
Gertrude taught me about God early. She put her life on the straight and narrow at an early age.
Because of this, she and Carl just couldn’t make it.
See, Gertrude is a great, great woman who is currently in school for her Bachelors degree at the age of 69.
She does stuff like foster and adopt children whose own families have given up on them.
She sponsors trips for children from the community so that they have a chance to make it out of the hood for a little while.
And I mean GOOD trips to her timeshare destinations and shit. Pay what you can afford type thing.
She buys extra Christmas gifts for the unexpected visitors who may stop by her house on Christmas Day.
And please believe it’s gone be plenty of food.
Thorough is she.
So one day Gertrude calls her daughter (my mom) while we were still living in Georgia.
Although there was closer family, Grama knew Mommy would be the child to sacrifice.
During the phone call, Grama tells us that she is sick and that she needs us to come up to Philly.
This isn’t like her, but cool.
Since it was a Friday, I told my job, my state job, that I was going to leave for grandma’s house that night. But they could count me back in on Tuesday.
We left Georgia that March with 4 days worth of Georgia’s spring clothes packed. Not Pennsylvania’s spring.
So here we are now in Philadelphia and strong Gertrude ain’t there.
It’s this new, debilitated Gertrude.
The day after we get there, she ends up in the hospital and finds out that she has had complete kidney failure.
She has to begin dialysis.
As we are all in the hospital and the doctor tells her that this is pretty much the only option other than death, she says:
I can’t go to dialysis. Who is going to take me?
Grama is always the one taking care of other people. She never admits when she needs help. Grama assumes the responsibility for everyone and everything.
Without a second thought, I said, “Grama I will take you if you let me and Zion stay in your basement.”
And that’s what we did.
My 15 month and I began to call Philly our home that day. Me, for the second time in life.
Fuck that job in Georgia and that lease. I will worry about the logistics in a sec but RIGHT NOW, Grama needs help.
And guess what?
Everything worked out too. I ended up with a state job in Pennsylvania making over the double the money I was in Georgia.
I completed my Masters program online.
AND Grama made all of her dialysis appointments.
It wasn’t easy and please believe the struggle was real.
But, to me this was what it meant to love sacrificially.
Tip: What is a sacrifice to me might not be one to you. And vice versa.
The foundation of God that Grama instilled in all of whom she reared is what made the decision to leave everything behind so easy for me.
I had faith.
God saw my intentions and He knew my heart.
Because of that, I felt protected. He has proven that I was.
My brother man (in this case, Grama) needed help.
So we helped each other. I depended on her for shelter and she was depending on me to help keep her alive.
What else was I supposed to do? Wait for another person who loved her to decide whether or not they could help?
What not to do: Do NOT wait for someone else to step up to the plate…
Because, let’s just be honest who is going to volunteer for someone else’s issues to affect them?
But Grama was precious to me. She was precious to us.
She died on July 14, 2014. It was a beautiful day.
At the end of her life, I got to witness my Grama looking for the same people she had given so much to when she was well.
I looked on as everyone else went on with their lives.
I watched Grama give up.
I was there when the Hospice papers were signed and everything.
She was tired of being a burden on everyone.
I know for a fact, because she said it.
Even though I gave so much of my self, my mom is the real MVP. She gave so much then and continues to now … with Carl.
She is where I first felt what it meant to love.
And she loved on Gertrude from the phone call she received in Georgia that day until the day that she passed.
Watching how my grandmother got treated at the end of her life gives me a very pessimistic view of other people and their so called “love”.
We say we love.
But is that only the case when it is comfortable for us to do so?
You don’t have to quit your job to be supportive in someone’s dying days.
You don’t have to quit to spend time.
Just make them higher on your priority list.
I mean it’s cool and all if you don’t …
just keep that same energy when you are the one in need.
+ Ci Ci +
Rest well Grama ❤️
I’m sorry they did you like that.
Gertrude Elizabeth Wilson was the truth!