a person who is admired or idolized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities
there are multiple definitions on hero but this one from google search is my favorite.
my hero was born on August 15, 1923
87 years later on February 19, 2011 she passed away. and i remember that day like it was yesterday and the 2 weeks before that.
I, and most others, knew her as Mama Smith. She was my great grandmother. She had a heart of gold. The heart of a servant of the Lord. The most beautiful person you could ever meet.
Mama Smith worked up until she had a stroke. She was so hardworking and could never sit still. When she was only working twice a week she took up walking. Serious walking, like 10 miles a day walking. at 87 years old! and she loved it!!
She always believed in me. She always knew I could do whatever I wanted to do. She loved spending time with me and my sister.
I remember when I was in middle school and high school she would pick me up some days. and she was so worried about me not knowing where she parked so she would walk up close to the door that I came out and would wait there. I remember being so embarrassed. But now, I realize she just wanted to make sure i found her and she found me. I feel horrible for being embarrassed now.
I remember February 5, 2011 like it was yesterday.
I actually had a dream. Something happened to Mama Smith, I do not remember what right now. But I do remember my grandma telling me everything is going to be ok, she will be ok. Everything will be alright.
Very soon after this, my mom came in and woke me up. She said “Get dressed, there is an emergency we are leaving”. I remember thinking “wait grandma said she was ok”. The whole thing was way to real. I was dressing as I yelled to my mom “is it mama smith?” and she said “yes lets go”. We were out the door in less than 5 minutes. We raced over to mama smiths which luckily was only about a 8 minute drive (however, it may have been shorter with the way my mom was yelling at dad to drive). We got to the house and the fire dept. and EMS was already there and so was my grandpa. They were bring her up the stairs when we were walking in the house.
My grandma got there and I drove her to the hospital. We beat the ambulance there and it felt like hours until we were finally able to go back and see her.
Mama Smith was a very strong woman! She worked for many years and she never gave up even during the long two weeks between her stroke and the day she passed away.
When we got to go back to her room in the ER she was very confused. It was so hard to see her so confused. the woman who never didn’t have an answer for something. She kept trying to get out of bed, telling us to take her home, telling us to get dad (thats what she called poppy, her husband), she was telling us over and over that dad wouldn’t make her stay there and would get here out of here.
At this point i knew I wanted to be a nurse. I was also in a health careers class at the local career center. My sister (Morgan) on the other hand, doesn’t like hospitals, doesn’t like needles, doesn’t want to even talk about anything medical related (she is still like this to this day). We are very different.
Eventually Mama Smith figured out that grandma, mom and I were not going to let her leave the ER. So Mama Smith started asking for Morgan (See what I mean she was smart?! she knew who to go to get what she wanted). So mom went to get Morg. Morgan came in and Mama Smith said “well, Finally. now morg you come over here and just put this side rail down and lets get out of here” Morg, didn’t know any better, didn’t really understand what was going on (bless her heart) and was already upset being in the hospital with all this stuff going on. Morgan went over to the bed and was trying to get the side rail down, obviously she didn’t get very far, she had mom, grandma, and I all yelling at her to stop!
Now obviously, Mama Smith wasn’t happy.
We were in the ER for a few more hours, and then she was transferred up to the progressive care unit. Where she spent 7 days. She had multiple tests run, she stopped being able to communicate, She even had a feeding tube for a few hours. We had that taken out shortly after it was put in. We decided that isn’t how mama smith wanted to leave.
Poppy died in 2005. After that she was never the same. She cried a lot for the first few weeks after he passed. She didn’t want to be on earth without him. She only wanted to be with him. She prayed and prayed for the Lord to take her, but He wasn’t ready for her to come home yet.
She wrote notes in her bible, a journal, and the check book to Poppy. Things like “why did you leave me all alone” another one was in the checkbook, “can you believe our little makenzie is turning 14”. It was a ton of little notes like that. It was heart breaking to read after she passed away when we were going through her things.
Mama Smith was then transferred to a hospice center. And she was there for another 7 days before she passed away. It was a very very long two weeks.
Each of us got a little alone time with her every so often. We would often just sit in her room and tell stories about her. We would also just sit there and tell it was ok to let go and go be with Poppy and the Lord. She still kept hanging on.
On Saturday the 19th of February, my mom, grandma, and I were in the room with Mama Smith. 4 generations sitting in that room. Mama smith was in the bed, she hadn’t been communicating for about 12 days, she was being given medication to keep her comfortable and she was getting bed baths everyday to keep her cleaned up. Mom was sitting on the couch she was looking through pictures for the video memorial and working on Mama Smith’s Obituary. I was sitting at the desk on the computer. Grandma was sitting next to Mama Smith and we were all still talking. Grandma got up to come look at something on the computer and we heard Mama smith take a gasp. We looked over and then she was gone.
For the last 14 days we had sat at her side talking to her. She was never alone for those 14 days, whether it was one of us or the nurses who were caring for her. But it was when our attention wasn’t focused on her for those 2 minutes that she decided to pass away.
We think maybe she wanted her peace, she never wanted a big fuss to be made about her, and I think she just wanted it to be on her own time and she was there and was more alone that she ever had been the last 14 days.
Like yesterday.It is so fresh in my mind. But I hate that some of the memories are not as fresh as those two weeks are.
My hero left this earth to go be with the love of her life & her Lord. and I am sure there was nothing better for her.
Mama Smith and Poppy made it possible for me to go to school and purse my dream of becoming a nurse. I was sure I wanted to be a nurse when I was 8. And then after watching Mama smith go through what she did and the care the nurses gave her, I knew nursing was exactly where I belonged. and here I am in my senior year. Less than 300 days from graduation.
I miss her all the time. But, I believe in ghosts, the good kind of course, not just that mama Smith is with me. but that she really does come around sometimes too. I can smell her every once in a while. sometime I still have to do a double take and go back to see if she is really there. She never is, but I know one day I will see her again.
My favorite thing every happened a few months ago. I was putting some things in my wallet when I noticed it wasn’t completely empty. I reached in and i found a Kennedy Half. Mama Smith collected those. She would often give us $1 if we ever got one. She had so many she loved collecting them! When I found the Kennedy Half in my wallet, I knew it was Mama Smith’s way of telling me she was right here.
Mama Smith was my hero for so many reasons. I hope to be as strong and she was.
I miss her everyday. and this time of year always gets harder and harder when I think about her being gone.
Hold your loved ones extra close and give them hugs and kisses and listen to a story whenever you can.