When I was growing up I spent a lot of time with my Grand-parents. Grandma Stockman kept my brothers and me often. Especially, when we were out of school. She picked us up from school when we were in elementary school. My Granddaddy Stockman was bigger than life to me. Of course, if you know any Stockman’s, most of them are bigger than life. My cousins spent a lot of time with them too. It was such fun growing up together. Fishing, going to the “fabric” store, drinking all the milk the milk man delivered, playing ball and throwing things at each other. It is true, cousins are your first friends, that is, if you blessed enough to grow up around them. The Stockman grandparents cooked all the time- big lunches and my mom and aunt would come home from work and eat lunch with us. Then we would have milk and cornbread for supper or leftovers. We all knew the day had been a success when Grandma chased us with the broom and Granddaddy would say “Irene, leave them kids alone!” Fun! That’s what we had, plain ole fun. We worked too -in the garden, in the chicken coop and cleaning the house. It was part of life, it was expected. We always seemed to make a game out of it somehow. Even if it was to see how mad we could make Grandma. Some of my favorite childhood memories.
You never had to wonder what my Stockman Grandparents were thinking. Honest and straight forward is an understatement. Granddaddy had a little more kindness about him, but you never wondered where he stood. I liked that about him. If he told you not to do something, you best not do it. My Grandma Stockman could be out right mean if she wanted to be. Most of the time she was just kidding around with someone or being sarcastic. People had trouble telling the difference. She was the same way with me. I don’t think I was ever the right weight – too fat or too skinny. She had an opinion about it. We laughed about it mostly.
My Grandma and Granddaddy Davis were so very loving and kind. They were more quiet. They lived in Camden and Granddaddy would let me drive his truck from my house to his house before I was even close to having a license. They had lots of woods around, gardens and barns. We would explore and come up with some of the best games. Go down to the local store – Young’s. My brothers (who look nothing alike to me) would play a game of changing names because for the life of Mr. and Mrs. Young they could not tell them apart. My Grandma would take me to work with her at Belk, even when I was very young. I had younger cousins up there. One of them was young enough for me to carry him around and play with like a baby doll. Our family along with my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins would go to the beach each summer. We would camp. I would be in charge of the babysitting. I was the only girl, you know that went over well. We worked there too -in the garden – I hated cutting okra!, and cleaning the house. Grandma and Granddaddy were right there with us working, made it seem like it wasn’t really work. We had lots of fun. Some of my favorite childhood memories.
My Granddaddy Davis died when I was 17 years old. I was trying to graduate from high-school before he died. He died in July, I graduated in August. I remember the day he died well, I was babysitting the others as the adults rushed to the hospital – the family had been called in. I remember taking care of the others as we went through the funeral process. Strange the things you remember.
Family should make you feel loved. Grandparents especially. Mine did. They were the kind of Grandparents I want to be. The kind of people who loved family, loved doing the simple things with us, cared for us and taught us to work. They spent time with us most of all. Big family gatherings were not an every now and then thing. They were all the time. It wasn’t a get prepared dinner, it was ordinary. My Grandparents loved me and I knew it. Their actions showed it. I loved them with my whole heart and am so very thankful for the memories. I still miss them all.
My parents said something the other day that I can not get out of my mind. They said enjoy the grandkids now. There will come a day when they will no longer visit or call as much. It broke my heart. But, it’s sorta true. Kids grow up to drive cars and go on dates and get married and have their own families. Then their lives become so busy the time is just not there. It’s amazing how busy life has become in this day and time. A lot of it is Church, which is ironic. Family dinners are no longer important. They have to be scheduled and fit in a calendar. Not fun, but true.
People want to feel loved. Doesn’t matter the age or circumstances of their life. It’s a need to feel like someone cares. It gives people hope. All too often we are so lonely we allow our own need to overcome the things we should do and the people we should care about. Wanting to be loved can make people selfish, blind and uncaring to those who are around us. It can make us hurt a lot of other people without even thinking about it. I know because I have been on both ends of the spectrum.
So, how does all of this fit in with losing a child? What connects it all? Because there is a person missing in the mix, it’s even harder. It’s harder to make sure they all remember the good times. I want the Grandchildren to remember their childhood as lots of fun. I want them to remember me as loving, caring and honest. I do not want their childhood memories of cousins and summers and family dinners to be over-shadowed with death. I want to give them fun and direction and love – like my Grandparents gave me.
Thank God I serve a Savior Who loves me beyond measure. Thank God He forgives me and cares for me. Thank God I have hope everything will work out. Thank God He gives me direction and peace. Thank God, He has blessed me with Grandchildren and the ability to spend time with them. Praying for Gods eyes as I walk in this world. Praying for God’s wisdom.
O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. Psalms 71: 17-21 (ESV)