So it's 1:45am I was lying in bed, lights out, ready for sleep. My eyes are wide open. This is the first night in my 27 years to go to sleep without my grandmother alive somewhere in the world. She's been leaving for awhile. My Dad called last night to say that she would probably pass in her sleep. It was difficult to fall asleep. It seemed like falling asleep was equivalent to letting her go. Whew! I promise this whole post won't be sad.
I'm afraid I'll get some of the facts wrong, but hopefully the overall message will be heard. My grandmother was born in 1922, Frances Elizabeth Bland. She married James Smith Starks and had four children. My father, John Bland Starks, is one of them. Gamma, as my siblings and I call her, started college at the age of 16. She graduated and became a math teacher. Oh, I wish I could remember how old she was when she retired from teaching. Let's just say she had a long career. After retiring, she tutored students in math into her 70's I believe. We looked at some of her calendars, and she kept herself SO busy. Whether it was Bridge Club, delivering Meals on Wheels, working at the hospital gift shop, or cooking for church functions, she was the epitomy of "involved." My sister found something she wrote about herself at the age of 84, and she recorded that she was still walking two miles every day.
Thanks to Gamma, I am a vicious card player and can count up the points in my hand like a pro. :c) I loved listening to her count up her hand. It went something like "5 is 22 is 37 is 78 is...I have 138," and it was always right. She talked to her sister, Maggie Lou, every day til she passed a few years ago. She loved the color blue and would often say, "Well, idn't that purdy." I love the way she said pretty (purdy). She touched many lives through teaching and tutoring alone, but our family is all positively affected by her. She's been the matriarch of our family since I've been in the world. I don't remember a Christmas morning ever not at her house in Arkansas. I've been fortunate to be in a family that places an importance on tradition and gathering together: Christmas at Gamma's, Easter at Aunt Martha's and Uncle John's, Labor Day in Hot Springs, Thanksgiving at Uncle Rick's and Aunt Sara's
I love knowing my extended family so well. I love family trees. I find when I'm stressed out I go through our family tree in my head. Is that strange? Maybe so....but I love it. I'm fighting myself to keep from writing one up right now and scanning it in as an attachment to this post.
Frances Elizabeth Starks will be missed, but she's so happy right now. Of that, I am very certain. I can still see the way her face looked when she laughed. I should draw that face so I always remember it.
I've lost a few other things in the past few weeks. I moved out of my house and no longer have my full-time job. I am attempting to make the mental transition from music as a hobby to music as a career. I WILL make the transition a reality thanks to the help of so many talented friends and supportive fans. So many of you have offered your skills toward this endeavor. So many of you have said, "Go for it." Elly Swope of Focus!Focus! recently told me, "I can't not do this," in regards to pursuing music. I agree. I'm going for it. Thanks for coming with me.
Sorry the last couple of posts have been heavy. I am extremely excited about life these days, but with that comes some healthy fear and due to recent events some mourning as well. Updates on the EP soon :)