My dad's father remarried after my grandmother died so we already had a Mamaw. Mom tried to get my older sister to call her mom "granny". My then two year old sister could only manage "Gan gan." Gan gan became her name.
My grandmother was probably the biggest Christian influence of my life. She enrolled me and took me to my first Vacation Bible School when I was four. She bought me first Bible the following Christmas. She bought me a second Bible a few years later. She prayed before every meal and bought several board games for when I spent the night at her house. We played Clue and a Bible based board game for many hours. Before I was married, there were times I needed advice or help and could only go to Gan gan. She really got me through some difficult times.
My father was often away from home and my grandmother was the one who taught me many valuable manly skills. She taught me how to skin a possum, cure a rabbit's foot, sharpen a knife with a whetstone, and sharpen a pencil with a pocket knife. She also showed me how to play my first guitar chords. The only thing she refused to teach me was sewing.
Gan gan made many of my Halloween costumes and regular clothes growing up. I think of myself as a cultural preservationist and wanted to preserve sewing by learning the traditional way. It would have especially come in handy making my own head wear since I have a humongous head.
Gan gan made many sacrifices for me. Dad wasn't good with money and the majority of my clothes were bought or made by Gan gan. She bought me a letter jacket and class ring when I was in high school.She even bought me some clothing items before I left North Carolina to start my new life in Mississippi.
My grandmother cared for many people during the last phases of their lives. She visited her sister in the nursing home every day to make sure she was clean and fed. Sadly, it is now her turn to receive assistance as she journeys through the final phase of her life. She asks about her great-grandson any time we are able to talk on the phone. I was able to speak with her just today. She always tells me to hug my son and tell him Gan gan loves him.
If I am unable to make a trip to North Carolina to see her again, we will meet in Heaven.