Irene Johnson -- "Mema"
October 21, 1923 - December 15, 2009
Originally posted on January 2, 2008
Christmas 2005 - Mema in her apron. She had probably been cooking and preparing for days!
I have had two amazing women that have been a huge influence in my life. They are my two grandmothers. Nennie (my mom's mother) is 86 and Mema (my dad's mother) is 84. I have been thinking about both of them so much lately. Maybe that is a product of their age, and maybe it is a product of mine. Today, I have had my thoughts on Mema. She is an amazing woman. She was able to spend Christmas day with our family - her 2 children, 3 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Unfortunately, she had absolutely no idea who we all were. She has advanced alzheimers and is in her own world. But, that is not what I want to dwell on today. I refuse to remember her as the shell of a person that the terrible disease has made her. I remember her strong. She was a devoted wife, mother, sister, and grandmother. She taught me how to bake -- her homemade rolls and pecan pies (with the most perfect, flaky crusts that you can imagine) were out of this world. She was a lady through and through. Until very recently, she wore dresses every single day and only put on pants to work in the garden or in the yard.
Colorado .... mid 1990s. Mema is on the leftHer faith in God carried her through many tragedies -- the death of her husband, mother, son and sister. She cared for each one of them through long illnesses and I never once heard her complain or ask why her. She had an amazing spirit, a fire in her. The family house had a large back yard and they had chickens in the yard. Apparently, one pecked at my oldest brother when he was a young boy and she went out and immediately wrung its neck (literally). She didn't wait on the men, she didn't blame my brother for doing something to the chicken, she defended her grandson and took care of the situation. It really makes me laugh to picture the situation. Chicken Little was dinner that night. I loved spending time at their house growing up. There was always plenty of family there. I learned so much from her. I learned the importance of family and God. I learned how to cook (or at least I tried!!!).
I watched her live out Proverbs 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
She is all these things and then some. She is to be praised for the life she lived and the witness she provided. My prayer is that she does receive the reward she has earned and that she meet my Grandaddy, Uncle Rickey, Mama (her mother) and Aunt Pat at the heavenly gates very quickly.
She is celebrating in Heaven tonight with all those family members and more. When I originally wrote that post, I had no idea that it would be almost 2 more years before she would leave us. It has been 2 very long years for her. I am so sad tonight that she is gone. But, I am so happy for her that she is well, whole, happy and in the presence of God.