it’s been a year since my Mimi died. and i still cant wrap my head around it. even before christmas, i wondered what i was going to get from her. i still have her phone number in my phone. and i wanted to send her a mother’s day card, but couldn’t. i miss my Mimi.
so i will leave you with this. posted from last year.
I wrote most of this a few days before Mimi died. And I looked back at it after she passed, and I was going to research “How To Write a Eulogy” to make sure that it didn’t end up seeming like an essay childishly titled, “My Mimi, by Christel Hull” and then I remembered the part in Forrest Gump when his mama died and he told the story like he was telling it to her, “you died on a Thursday…” but that wasn’t right either. And the more I thought about how to do it properly, the more I knew that anything coming from the heart would be the exact right thing to say. So I guess I still ended up with an essay. But these are my words. My words for my Mimi.
I am my grandmother’s granddaughter. Most girls are Daddy’s Girls. I was not that girl, but the bond that I shared with my grandmother was one that was precious for just us.
I am the oldest grandchild of five and the only girl. I wasn’t spoiled, nor did I get away with anything more than the boys, but my Mimi time was different than theirs. I was the one that played dress up. I was the one that wore her costume jewelry to the Club. I was the one that danced with her and Pop to their old Les Brown 8-tracks. She also instilled a very southern way in me.
But, she was not the type of grandmother who baked cookies. She did special things for us all; she always made sure there were granny smith apples for me when I visited. And during our “Tea Parties” around 3pm, we would have a Snickers bar and an ice cold, green glass, bottled coke while we played cards. Every now and then, around 3 in the afternoon, I think to myself, “It sure would be a good time for a tea party”. And I KNOW she still had them. You could open a random drawer in her house, or even where she was living, after Maplehill, and find a Snickers bar. She loved the little indulgences in life.
Mimi was also magical. She made the Wizard of Oz come on network television whenever I would visit her, and I would lie on that hard linoleum and we would watch it after dinner, completely amazed that it was on while I was there. It didn’t matter if it was spring, or summer, or a weekend in January, it ALWAYS came on. She somehow, did that for us and I still don’t know how. I remember when I was younger and would tell my mom that I wanted to buy something “Wizard of Oz” for Mimi for her birthday or Mother’s day, she didn’t understand, and would tell me that I should get her something else, until a year or so after I was grown and married, I called my mom when the Wizard of Oz had come on TV, and told her the story of how it ALWAYS came on for Mimi and I… and then she understood that it was OUR dear and unique thing.
So many habits and ways of doing things skipped my mother and are being carried on by me, too. And I think that is due to wanting to make our OWN way when we grow up. Saying, “when I move out, I’m going to do THIS differently…” and the mother that my mom and aunt had is a different woman than I grew up with. I would make dinner at my mom’s house and wash out the jars and save the lids. To my mom, she would rather NEVER see a drawer full of lids ever again. I cook my crinkle cut fries in a leftover aluminum Stouffer’s pan. I cook my scrambled eggs on low and try to make them look and taste like “Mimi Eggs”. I keep my precious jewelry in a satin pouch that she gave me and I sometimes rub my knee when I am on the phone, like she did. In fact, the morning that she died, I was unloading my dishwasher and I had several jars and lids and it made me pause and smile when I put them up. Because even though we were not related by blood, I am proud to have some of her quirks and mannerisms.
But she was not a perfect woman. And I only knew that from what I occasionally witnessed and heard from my family, but when she got sick three years ago and made that amazing comeback, she changed. She made peace with herself and with those in her life. She became the Mimi she was to me, to everyone else. And THAT is for what I am MOST grateful. That MY family got to know the woman I have known all my life.
So here we are, crying and mourning and wondering what to do to fill the gaping hole that she left in all of our lives, but I would like you to know that THIS… This is to celebrate the woman that did her crossword puzzles in pen and bought snacks for the guys who did her lawn. The woman who looked astonishing in purple and had a laugh that was infectious. The woman who was hard and strict and loving and kind. The woman who had a line in the kitchen, where the linoleum seam was, and while she was cooking you weren’t allowed to cross, and a woman you NEVER wanted to see “ACRIMONIOUS”. The woman who would use string to measure wrapping paper so there wasn’t any waste and the woman who used to wear the funniest hats to bed. The woman who said, “PIZZER” and “DINNAH”, and kept her 9 different shades of Mauve nail polish in the refrigerator. The woman who asked, “is it MY time?” when playing cards, or Scrabble, (which her husband cheated at, by the way.) One, who had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, yet watched her soaps without fail. The woman who was still as sharp and quick-witted until her final days. The woman who loved her family so deeply and loyally and completely and unerringly that so many of you have gathered here today to wish her well on her next journey.
So Mimi, my CUTE GIRL… yes, yes it is YOUR TIME. Fly away knowing that you have touched SO many hearts and minds and you will forever be imprinted on our souls. As Dorothy told the Scarecrow, “I think I will miss YOU the most”.