Meet Merriam Lorraine Franklin Cook.
She was born October 10, 1929.
This picture hangs proudly in the dining room of our home. I have often stared at this picture and become lost in the simple and elegant beauty I see.
My Mom-mommie. I named her. It seems as I was a little girl the only real perfect name for her was this. She was my "Mom's mommie." So it stuck.
Growing up, she wasn't the grandmother type to dote or bury you with kisses. No, Mom-mommie was more reserved with her affections. Although you never left her presence feeling nothing short of adored in her eyes.
She was neat. Neat as pin. Organized. A seamstress nothing short of perfection. Growing up she made most all of my mom and aunt's clothes. She even made most all of their Barbie doll outfits too.
I can rememember several times that she had a hand in helping my mom with the finishing stitches on more than one of my prom dresses. She even made my one and only flower girl dress in the picture below:
Mom-mommie, Mom, and me
She was the one who bought me my very first Barbie (Suntan Malibu stringy blonde tanline Barbie if you will) as a gift when my brother was born.
In she and Dad-daddy's house you could always find "baby beers" (apple juice in the tiny cans) stocked for the cousins and there was always white bread and homemade apple butter to make toast.
I find my strength there.
Here we are on my wedding day. Her smile dazzles me. It takes up her entire face. It's so natural and moving to me.
I will miss this smile more than my heart can bear to imagine...
Today, my Mom-mommie passed away.
She faught hard and silently against her viscious enemies for who truly knows how long.
First, it was Alzheimer's Disease. Watching her gradually lose the withitness she once posessed was hard on everyone who loved her so.
Still, she managed to make the most of her time and was able to see me bring into the world both of her great grandsons.
Here I am about 2 weeks away from delivering Eli with Mom-mommie, Dad-daddy, and my Gramma Casey.
The joy of watching her smile that amazing smile as Eli visited reciting often to me, "He doesn't miss much." fills my heart with such pride.
Here I am about a month away from delivering Casey with Mom-mommie and my Aunt Sharon.
This picture was of the day Casey was born.
Sickened with the disease, I can remember taking this picture and thinking this will mean so much to you one day.
I was right.
It truly does.
My sweet baby's precious face so fresh and new. My Mom-mommie's strong yet soft hands holding his. Tears of joy stream down my face now as I am so thankful for that very moment.
Our final Christmas together was last year. Watching the disease slowly steal her away was becoming more and more apparent. But her smile never stopped.
This April, she was able to see Adam get married. Here are the 4 cousins, Bryan, Adam, Aaron, and me with Mom-mommie and Dad-daddy.
And then by summer another ugly demon reared his angry head. In June, Mom-mommie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The doctor's gave her 2 weeks-6 months to live. The cancer had spread so rapidly that no form of treatments were available.
I did my best to visit often and sit with Mom-mommie. I wanted to take a picture of her or us everytime that I came to visit. The changes are so dramatic as I compiled and sequenced this post. Alzheimer's and Cancer did their best to take her with no haste, but her fiesty spirit and happy smile put up the fight of their lives. Her shirt remains the same each visit as she became attached to just this one.
Here is Mom-mommie with all of her great grandchildren, Eli, Casey, and Mollye. (Bless Kim's heart trying to wrangle those 3 up to smile.)
Here she is with Mollye Addison. This was the last time she held her.
Our last photo with Mom-mommie. This was Thanksgiving Day.
My final blessings.
I have so many.
The way she sought out her lips to mine to give me a goodbye kiss my last 4 visits with her...her I love yous she would tell me as I was about to leave, brushing her hair and whipsering thank you to her for all of the wonderful things she has taught me over the years...hugging her neck and smelling my Mom-mommie's sweet smell...
But most of her smile. Natural. Full. Genuine.
It is here I will continue to find my stength.
I love you, Mom-mommie. May you rest and smile most peacefully forevermore. I am so proud to be your granddaughter.
December 8, 2008.