In all our years together, there are only a few decisions that Tim and I have made together that I almost immediately have regrets about. But today I am sitting here, having little crying jags every hour or so because we decided that the best thing for the kids was that I would stay here while he went home to Nova Scotia for his Grammie's wake and funeral.
Like many kids in Mabou, my first memories of Harriet(Grammie) was from the school. She was the secretary, but she ran the place. She knew all the kids and teachers like a mother would, and she knew when to provide advice, a listening ear, a band-aid or a scolding, and she did all that skillfully. Just like she did many things in life. She was smart, witty and she loved her family and community with a passion that was hard to deny.
The first time that I went to her house as Tim's girlfriend, she put us to work. It eventually became a little joke that I would pay my dues if I wanted to date her grandson. On our first official date we found ourselves in the quarry in Mulgrave, shovelling gravel into bags that she wanted for her flower beds. She always had a project on the go, whether it was her beautiful flower beds that were the envy of many, or making a quilt for the latest baby born into the family. All of us in the family have been left with blankets, mittens, aprons and socks that were made with her loving hands.
Harriet and I were both strong willed and strong minded women. She loved that I would argue with her when others wouldn't, and I loved her for how much she loved Tim. She loved her children, but there was something more passionate about the way she loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She shared all the news of what they were doing with such pride to anyone who would listen, and kept us up to date about who's cow was showing in the latest 4-H competition, or who had a new job with the same level of excitement.
But Harriet's first love, and strongest love was always for Kenny. As I sit here and think of them together again, the tears come fast. She was so heart broken when he had to go into the nursing home all those years ago, and when he passed away her grief seemed like a blanket. They fought, they laughed, they challenged each other, they were the opposites on some things, but they always remained steadfast in their love for each other.
So today I am sitting here thinking of those left behind. Her sons Clifford, Floyd, and Danford, and her daughters Ellen and Janet are all gathered at home to say their good-byes. Every single one of them are some of the most amazing people you will ever meet. They all are such giving, kind and funny people. Each has the different great qualities that their parents carried. If you were graded on how your kids turned out, then Kenny and Harriet would have gotten an A+. And their children, and grandchildren are all people that Harriet and Kenny were proud to call their family. I have been blessed to be part of the Murphy family for over 20 years. I cried when Kenny once told me he loved me like a granddaughter, because I knew how much his grandchildren meant to him.
I am also thinking of all the extended family, especially Mary Mae, Debbie, Gloria, and Lyndsey. It was not always easy being the daughter-in-law when Harriet could expect perfection for her children, lol, but she loved you all so much and told so many loving stories about all of you over the years. And to all her grandchildren, I am sending all my hugs as I know you will all be shedding some tears today and tomorrow as you say good-bye. You were her pride and joy. Of course, I saw her more with Tim then the rest over the years, but she was like a mama bear, fiercely proud and protective of all of you. Many have been sending their stories about Harriet, and while they are all nice, there is definitely a number of them that have said that you didn't mess with Harriet as far as her grandchildren were concerned. Even though her Timothy was a bit of a wild thing around Mabou in his younger days, she always knew how good his heart was and pity help the one that would say anything about him, they would be put on her bad list for life. And yes, she probably kept such a list, lol.
I wish I was home to say good-bye to say good-bye to a woman who shared so much of our life. She was there crying on our wedding day, she was the boys were born, she was there when I needed help when I got my wisdom teeth out, she was there with cookies and strawberry shortcakes on every birthday and I feel like we made a mistake in not taking the whole family home to say good-bye. It also feels wrong to just not be with the family and Tim as they say their good-byes. I love you all so much, and my heart is home with you in Cape Breton today.