I am Jayne Bedingfield, wife of Carl and daughter in law to one of the most remarkable women I have ever known. I want to share some of the grandchildren's memories of the person they called Mama B. The way she loved them says so much about the person she was and that love helped form them into the people they are. They are her legacy.
The hardest part of a loss like this is thinking of the "never more" aspects of our life. There will be a huge Mama B shaped hole in our lives but rather than focus on what we have lost we are choosing to focus on what we have gained, the things that will stay with us forevermore.
Mama B was a thoughtful Christian. One of the fondest memories from the intown grandchildren was of her teaching them a prayer that they recited every morning on the way to school. They started the prayer as they passed the Texaco on Weems Road and were finished by the time they were dropped off at Blanchard Elementary. "Thank you for the world so sweet. Thank you for the food we eat. Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you Lord for everything." What a precious way to start the day -- with gratitude. Their grateful hearts will reflect hers forever.
Mama B was energetic. She was the last person to go to bed at night and the first person to get up in the morning. This afforded her the chance to have one on one time with the kids as they woke up. They all have sweet memories of sitting at the kitchen bar eating cereal or grits casserole or creamed eggs while she sat on her stool across from them drinking her coffee and eating a cereal mix of her own making. All the energy she possessed was channeled into hanging on their every word. Their stories, opinions and jokes were valued. They will never forget the sense of being nourished literally and figuratively.
That little kitchen is where so many Mama B memories were made. She would make oatmeal cookies to order. There were plain, with raisins, with nuts, with nuts and raisins and McKenzie preferred hers raw. There were late night snacks that felt so decadent-- milkshakes at 10:30 at night! Tomato sandwiches with bacon as a midnight snack. To be honest with you, the whole lot of us were spoiled rotten. For the rest of our lives when we eat an oatmeal cookie, drink a handmade milkshake or bite into a fresh tomato sandwich we'll remember what it was like to be loved that extravagantly.
Mama B was the kind of person who made lemonade out of lemons. Once she fell down the little steps in her den and after lying there for a few minutes she decided since she hadn't broken anything and as long as she was on the floor she would just go ahead and do her calesthinics. Forevermore they will look for ways to find the best in a bad situation.
Speaking of lemonade. Mama B kept the intown grandchildren during the summers and she managed to make every day fun. There were planned activities such as breakfast in the garden, scavenger hunting for snacks, quiet reading time and arts and crafts. One summer she allowed the kids to make a lemonade stand but being the safety conscious person she was felt the front yard was too close to the street so they made their lemonade stand in the backyard. They had a real lemonade stand but had to get by with imaginary customers. Her loving protection is in their nature.
Mama B was a psychometrist by vocation and she administered IQ and ability test to the grandkids. As luck would have it ALL of her grandchildren tested in the genius range...as far as they knew! She managed to make her grandchildren feel like they were each the brightest child on the planet. For all their days they will carry the assurance that they can do anything they put their mind to because she made them feel confident.
Mama B had a great sense of humor. It was fun and contagious to watch her laugh so hard her face would crinkle in on itself and she could hardly breathe. Bo remembers one morning at the kitchen counter when Mama B sat smiling as he poured spoon after spoon of sugar on his cereal. Then she burst into peals of laughter when he tasted and realized it was salt and not sugar. Some of her best stories were those she told on herself. This past Sunday evening as I stood at the kitchen sink the house was reverberating with laughter and I thought how often she must have stood right there and heard those same happy sounds. Forevermore they will all think of laughter as a hallmark of our family.
Mama B was content with her life. She didn't live extravagantly but she also never settled for mediocrity. Vegetables from the garden, flowers from her backyard and forevermore when we set a table it will feel a little bit wrong not to put a knife, fork and spoon no matter how casual the meal.
Mama B was always on trend and often ahead of the trend. She recycled, composted, ate locally, medicated naturpathically and "did it herself" long before DIY became part of the vernacular. She text messaged and kept up with friends and family via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We can only hope to stay as sharp and relevant as she was.
We watched as Mama B took such loving care of Daddy B as his memory and body failed him. Her example of courage, perseverance and so...much...patience is etched in our minds. Even in that unhappy situation she kept her sense of humor. Daddy B had about a 5 minute memory. One night Mama B served unsalted green beans by accident. He tasted them and said, "These are terrible." She offered to take them off his plate but he said no, he would just eat around them. Then in a few minutes he would eat one and say, "These are terrible." And again and again. Her telling the story and laughing about it shows her resilience in the face of adversity. It wasn't a burden for her because she loved him SO much. We may be accused of having overly romantic notions but we feel theirs is a love story for the ages....Mike and Jim. Always we will make it our goal to live up to her standard of love.
Above all else, I think Mama B personified love -- the unconditional kind that made you want to be as good a person as she thought you were. She embodied the love described in 1 Corinthians 13. Her love was patient. Kind. Not easily angered. Kept no record of wrongs. Her love protected us. Hoped all good things for us. And never once failed us. We will carry that love until our dying day.Back to Menu