Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2 - All Souls' Day - Rosemary and James Graham, Memmi and Bebaw

On this day every year, the Church all over the world takes time to look back upon the people whose influence on our lives is still felt. Yesterday, was All Saints' Day, when we give thanks for those whose lives have given us a glimpse of what it looks like to follow Jesus, but few of us have ever met any of the people that might have been remembered yesterday. What of those everyday influences? What of those saints of our own lives whose words and actions have left an indelible mark our own souls? Their day is today--All Souls' Day--and today I remember the lives of my mother's mother and my mother's father, Rosemary and James Graham.

Typically, picking out a name for a person is something that an expectant mother and father do in the anxious days leading up to birth. But, that's not always the way that names are chosen. My sister, Lori, was born roughly eight years before me. So, she had the privilege of gracing our mother's parents with their “grandparent names.” We all know what a grandparent name is,
right? They're those easy syllables, often repeated by babies, that stick like glue to a grandparent and become their family name? Certainly, you can think of a few yourself. What did you call your grandmother? Your grandfather? My mother's parents' names were Rosemary and James, but Lori called them Memmi and Bebaw, and it stuck.

Bebaw passed in April of this year after a lifetime of hard work and loyalty to family and friends. He loved to joke and took every opportunity he could to make others laugh and smile. He played football before facemasks, served in the Navy in the Korean War, and worked in a steel mill as a rigger where they nicknamed him “Pig.” A friend of his once told me, “Pig does his best work when he has to climb to get there. He doesn't like easy jobs.” Memmi just passed a few weeks ago after demonstrating time and time again the impact that insistent love can have on a family. Memmi wasn't half as boisterous or extroverted as Bebaw, but she was the quiet heartbeat of every dinner and family occasion—you might not notice her, but you would always benefit from her careful and compassionate hospitality. After Bebaw passed, Memmi didn't know what to do without the love of her life. Their 60th wedding anniversary would have been October 23, but I give thanks that the two of them won't have to celebrate one without each other.

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