Monday, October 15, 2007

Standing tall

I spoke with my grandmother the other night. She's been living on her own for the first time in her life since April when Papa died. She's a tiny little thing, and while we all knew she was strong, I think we expected her to fall apart without him. She's an old-school woman who let her man run the household (even though like most black women of her generation she worked, and worked hard). But she didn't fall apart.

Someone shot at her house a couple of weeks ago. Shot bullets at her house! While she was home! She hit the ground and called the police. They told her that a house getting shot, even the house of an 85-year-old woman, wasn't a priority. They had cases where people had been shot and they had to investigate those first. They'd get to her whenever. Well, she didn't accept that. She called the daughter of somebody's cousin who knows so and so (this is how it works in small towns). This daughter of somebody's cousin is a forensics investigator. She went to the house and called the cops and told them to get somebody over NOW. And they did. After a thorough investigation (helicopters, squad cars, the whole shebang) they think it was some random idiot. (Lovely, aren't they? The random idiots.)

This is the big part: my grandmother didn't tell anybody in the family about this. She handled it herself. My father came into town to visit her and her next door neighbor told him what happened. This is what she told me about it on the phone: "I had to work through this myself and find some peace about it in my own mind before I told anybody else. I was afraid at first, but I prayed on it and I'm not afraid anymore. I'm really not. So please don't worry about me. I walked on Billy's [my grandfather] feet for 60 years. I was like a baby learning how to walk when he died. I didn't know how to write a check or pay any bills. But now I do. Now I'm standing tall. And I'm proud of me."

I'm proud of her too!

7 comments:

Ello said...

That is so lovely! She sounds like a wonderful woman and I'm proud just to hear this story. My husband gets very over protective of his mother, nearly treating her like a child at times. I have yelled at him to treat her with respect and respect her independence. He did and she is much happier.

Lisa said...

This brings me to tears. What an accomplishment, to have to learn to be independent at 85 years old, when so many older people are unwilling or unable to go on when they lose a loved one. What an impressive woman!

Sherry said...

Your grandmother is a courageous woman. She stood on her own feet (after falling to the ground..thankfully!) and took care of matters. She didn't take "no" for an answer from the police on how much of a priority she was and she made sure she was a priority. She is right to be proud of herself. I can see completely why you are proud of her.
(and there is way too much of this random shooting in the world..too many guns with people who have no respect for the danger and the damage).

Sassy Sistah said...

God bless your sweet, wonderful grandmother. She sounds like a magnificent woman! And I'm glad the cops showed up - even if it took calling somebody who called somebody, etc., and...and even if they weren't much good after they got there. But doggone it, it makes me mad that they tried to "blow your grandmother off." I wish I could meet this amazing lady.

Carleen Brice said...

Thanks y'all. I wish you could all meet her. She's something else. The more I learn about her and my other elders, the more I respect and admire them. Don't be surprised if I write about them someday. If I can figure out a way to do them justice.

leslie said...

I am so impressed - go Grandma!!

Earth Angel said...

Carleen, this is beautiful. I especially like your gramma's words: "I walked on Billy's feet for 60 years...Now I'm standing tall. And I'm proud of me." That is so awesome.