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 sad 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.