One of the very first to hold me after my birth, my maternal grandmother gave me my name. She named me after my mom (Betty), and herself (Audrie). I know she loved me, though I never knew her. She died two years after my birth. I grew acquainted with her through my mom’s memories and the many beautiful pictures we have of her. A few years ago, I traveled to Seattle and visited her grave. Seeing that name on a gravestone was a little bit of a shock, but I’m so glad I did it. She became real to me that day. Though I had no physical memories of her, she really had existed.
Mom grew up in Seattle, where she met my dad, a young sailor on leave. He was from Tennessee. She left her home and family to follow him, and stayed with him through sometimes extreme difficulties, until the day he died. She was with him in San Diego, living on base, when her mother died in Seattle. She still has the airplane ticket from her flight home for the funeral.
These two strong women loved me, spoke into my life, and gave me my morals and principles. They were shining examples to me of the kind of woman I wanted to become. Women who gave everything for those they loved. Women who endured hardship as if it were just another bump in the road. Women who could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Dedicated and Godly women.
I was never able to send my grandmother a Mother’s Day card, or even tell her I loved her. I never heard her voice or saw her grow old. So I’ll tell my mom, her daughter: I love you. I’ll visit her and give her a gift and a card for Mother’s Day. I’ll smile at my reflection in the mirror, the part of me that resembles my namesakes. I feel very blessed to be descended of such excellent women. Happy Mother’s Day!