I had been waiting for the call for the past few days- it was expected, but no matter how hard I tried, I don't think anything could have prepared me for losing my best friend and grandmother.
Carol Jeanne Loveridge Clark, affectionately known also as "Big G", died tonight at the age of 79. She lived a long, fulfilled life, and despite her physical death, she lives on in the lives of many. Big G was a memorable person to meet, whether you knew her for a lifetime, or for only a few minutes. Due to her friendly, selfless, and inquisitive personality, she made friends everywhere she went. If she didn't know anyone when she walked in, she made sure she knew everyone by the time she left.
Big G was one of the few people I know who would stop everything and just sit and talk- every single time. The conversation, no matter how hard I tried, was never on her; she wanted to know about me, and what made me tick. We talked about the "hard" subjects in life, and she gave honest, open advice. She never put on a front or tried to cover up her imperfections. She loved me and Trent just as we came, and never made us feel that we had to be anything but ourselves.
Big G had a great capacity for love. She loved, more than you will ever know, every single one of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and wanted them to be happy. She talked at lengths about each and every one of them on an individual basis. If any one of them was having a hard time in life, there was nothing she wanted more than to comfort them and make them whole. She shed many tears for those of us who ever had struggles. I hope all of her loved ones know how unexaggerated this is.
There was one story Big G told me a couple different times: When she was a little girl, her mother told her that when she was pregnant with Big G, she tried all the "at-home" remedies for aborting her, because at the time, the family was so poor that her mother couldn't fathom how they would feed another child. But, when Big G arrived, the mother was grateful that she didn't, in fact, abort her. While I'm not sure her mother meant much ill from this story, it impacted Big G as a child, and often felt unloved by her mother. I think she felt that she wasn't really wanted, and I think she harbored that insecurity through adulthood. Yet to think of the impact she's had on all of us, it's clear that without Big G, we would all be in trouble. I hope she knows that now, especially if she is looking down on us. I hope she realizes how many people she influenced in her lifetime.
I loved her deeply, and to think of life now without her is just impossible. Even tonight, when I was feeling down, all I wanted to do was to call her and talk to her, until I realized that was no longer an option. There's no replacement for what she has given me, and I only hope that I can continue without her.
My only regret is that I wasn't there for what was one of the most important moments of her life. I hope she will forgive me and know that I never forgot her. She cannot be forgotten, for her fingerprints are indelibly placed all over my life. I am who I am because of her strength and her love. Big G, thank you for everything. I love you.