I lost my Mamaw, Shirley, 2 weeks ago to cancer. She was vibrant, friendly, thoughtful, loyal and compassionate. She cared about people and animals. She would give you the shirt off her back and seamlessly made everyone around her feel included and welcome. She had the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen and took pleasure in cooking huge, delicious, country meals. She always made me my favorite yellow cake with chocolate frosting (even if there were 15 other desserts already made).


She loved the color blue and I’ll always think of her when I see antique blue dishware or blue glass bottles in a windowsill. She always had her nails perfectly painted pink and yet she was tough. She and my Papaw spent a chapter of their lives working together building houses – by themselves. She enjoyed crafting and creating and had a wide range of skill.

The art that she was best known for was quilting and I would describe her as a prolific quilter. I have no idea how many quilts she produced in her lifetime, but I know that she gave one to all of her children and grandchildren every Christmas for many, many years, not to mention all that she gave to other family, friends, and church members. She made one for my husband (who, at the time, was only my boyfriend of 3 months) to welcome him into the family – I guess she just knew that he was a keeper ;)

Our heirloom wedding gift.

This was my gift when I went away to college. It was a bright spot in my dreary dorm room and it's still one of my favorites.

A recent gift to Richie. The amount of hand stitching boggles my mind.

I met many of her friends and fellow church members for the first time at her funeral and almost each person that spoke to me had a story about my Mamaw giving them a quilt, a baby quilt for a grandchild, a wall hanging, a pillow, etc. I was also particularly touched by the fact that most of these people called me by the nickname that my Mamaw had given me. All of these strangers also knew about my husband’s recent health difficulties and each one asked about him. We were always on her mind. It was a very moving experience.

It still hasn’t fully sunken in that I will never see her again and to say that she will be missed is an understatement. The last time I spoke to her, I told her that my interest in quilting was piqued by the baby quilt I recently made for a friend. She told me to take it up and carry on the tradition, and I plan to give it my best shot.

15 comments on “Mamaw

  1. outlanderfan says:

    I’m sorry for your loss- I have a “Ma” who sounds a lot like your Mamaw, and I cherish her. I know she’s still loving you from where she is…

  2. Cynthia says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my grandmother in 2006 and still think of her almost every day. She also quilted and was a great country cook…what I wouldn’t give for her to be here to be able to cook chicken and dumplins’ again. She called me her “Little Princess” all my life…she made me feel cherished. I’m certain that you know how that feels, too.

  3. Bridget says:

    What a beautiful post and a great way to honor your mawmaw. I lost my grandma brock when i was pregnant with addison and she sounds a lot like your mawmaw.. Extremely giving, kind, and warmhearted. She didn’t have a lot, but what she had she’d share with anyone who needed it. We’re lucky to have had such a strong matriarch in our lives. Again, this post is so sweet and full of love, there are tears in my eyes. Rest in Peace mawmaw and grandma brock.

  4. JustHeather says:

    I’m so very sorry for the loss of your mamaw. It’s such a very hard thing to have to deal with.
    Her quilts are beautiful and so are the qualities you described. I know you’ll miss her for a long time to come. My mom’s mom died in 1994 and I still miss her dearly. *hugs*

  5. Christie says:

    So sorry for your loss but it’s wonderful to celebrate a life so well lived. And, I just have to say, that pic of your husband holding that quilt – wowsers! what a cutie patootie!!

  6. I`m very sorry for you!!! A beautiful woman, I see – and lots of good memorys she has left you <3 Hugs from Marita.

  7. Thank you for the kind words and for sharing memories of your own Mamaws, I love my blog buddies :)

  8. Marilyn says:

    Oh Sweetie…even when we feel prepared, loss is never easy. It just plain sucks! You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

  9. I’m sorry for your loss. It’s always so hard. But I look forward to seeing the occasional quilted creation from you to carry on her beautiful tradition! Theresa

  10. Paige Turner says:

    It has been ten years since I lost my Nanny, but she’s on my mind every day. You seem to be the most lovely and loving person. I’m so sorry for your loss and hope your husband is doing well. Though I don’t know you, I think of you as if I do. You’re a terrific writer.

  11. Carla says:

    Just returned from northern CA and thought I’d check in. You’ve memorialized her proudly with this blog; she’s shining down on all of you…..embraced in your accolades.

    So…..I do hope that you’ll go forward with the quilting and paint with them–wall art as it were, creating portraits, scenics, abstracts AND clothing…..advancing quilts to the next level with texture and color! You’ve the skill and talent and avocation…..inherited from this dearest and giving antecedent?

  12. Jayne says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I loved my Mammaw (yes, that’s what called mine too) probably more than anyone else in my family until I had kids. She died in 1991 and not a day goes by that I don’t remember something she said or something she taught me. Every time you make something beautiful, you will be honoring her memory. God bless you and your family (and I hope your husband is still doing well!!).

  13. Keith Baucom says:

    I am sorry for your loss.My nannie was your great grandfathers brother,Uncle Lloyd.I to remember the compasion she had that still lives in me.I know she was proud of you.God Bless,

    • Hi Keith, thank you for the kind words. What an interesting connection! I wish I had more time to devote to genealogy, I am in awe of how much work my Papaw has done in that department. I’m very glad you stopped by :)

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