Whenever I speak about my grandmother to other people there is always this look on their face like “what’s a Mommock?”
So, this is typically where I would stop and explain that, yes, we do in fact refer to our British grandmother as Mommock. I know it’s odd, but if you say it with a British accent it is actually quite beautiful sounding.
I don’t remember the specifics of how she got that name – but I do know that it fit her perfectly.
Our grandmother wasn’t like yours. She drove an emerald green, two door Firebird, smoked Virginia slims, and rocked the gray haired pixie cut. Mommock hung out at coffee shops, where she would always order a latte-extra foam-with two packets of turbanado brown sugar. She loved ballroom dancing and Kenny Rogers. She had a room in her house dedicated to her collection of all things “blue and white” and a glass table with my favorite kaleidoscope on it that I wasn’t aloud to touch unless she was supervising.
She was also a woman who had a true passion for foreign languages. Gosh, she knew so many odd sounding words that were spoken in so many different languages, it almost made you question if she had made them up. You couldn’t just simply say “bless you” or “I love you” and walk away. Nope. That was just an opportunity for her to teach you how to say those words in Swahili or Japanese. And it brought her great joy when you would speak it properly.
Doe-e-tash-e-mash-e-tay: this meant, “don’t touch my mustache” – that one I’m convinced she made up.
Oh-bang-a-me-gum: “god bless you”
Amari: “I love you”
How-now-brown-cow: this one is not a foreign language and served no purpose other than it gave her the opportunity to tell us that we talked funny
One of my favorite things about Mommock was how she always would carry a small drawstring pouch, full of word cards, in her purse. Whenever I went to see her, the first thing I would ask for was my word for that day. I would close my eyes, hoping to get something magical, pull out a small card with a word on it and we would spend time talking about what it meant and how I could apply it to my life that day. Sometimes I would want to give back my word and grab another but she never let me.
This past week we found her pouch full of words and it honestly took my breath away. I thought it was lost. I eagerly opened it up, closed my eyes, and pulled out my word.
Clarity – the quality of being coherent, of being certain, of transparency
Synonym: freedom, purity, wholeness
I know with my whole heart that God has made Mommock whole again. He has given her freedom from the chains of her illnesses. He has reunited her with her parents, her siblings, and her grandson (my brother) Ethan. All of this gives me an overwhelming sense of peace.
She is home.
She isn’t hurting.
She is happy.
I was with Mommock last Friday night and early Saturday morning, along with the rest of our family, when she left this earth to go home with Jesus. It was the first time I felt ready to go see her in the nursing home. As I sat by her bedside holding her hand and marveling at her beauty, I thought only about her leaving. I thought only about the impact she had on my life for good. I thought only about the many many good memories we had during her life.
I thought about all the times she would let me paint her nails – each nail a different color.
I thought about all the times we would spend picking pecans in her front yard and blowing bubbles for what seemed like hours.
I thought about the sunflower clock she made for my bedroom years ago.
I thought about her thimble collection, and her fancy jewelry, and her old schooling books from England, and her remarkable childhood.
I thought about all the times I would teach her “American humor” and she would teach me British slang.
This week, as we said goodbye to Mommock, it hit me how incredibly lucky I have been to have a grandmother who was so present in my everyday life and in the first few years of my children’s lives.
You see, our parents give us life.
But our grandparents give us a sense of who we are and where we came from. They are our living roots.
Cheerio, Mommock. We’ll see you soon.