One of the finest women I have ever known is my Granny, Sara McCaig. Sadly, my sweet Granny went to be with the Lord on Friday, March 9, 2012. She had a way about her that would light up a room, light up your day, or as in my case, light up your life.
Granny was 94 years old when she passed away. She had a long, happy life and I am so blessed to have been her granddaughter. She spent her entire life dedicated to her husband, her son, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren, and her Lord. Granny's sweet and caring nature was a benchmark I don't think will be surpassed.
Granny was born in Bessemer, Alabama on July 26, 1917 to Clarence and Hattie Cook and had one younger sister, Alverda. Granny loved her parents and spoke of them often. She often told us stories of their childhood. Among my favorites were when a young Granny drove the family car through a store front in downtown Bessemer, stories of when she met my Papa and their courting, and of the loving sacrifies her parents made during the Great Depression for her and Alverda. She was raised "right" which was a trait she passed on later in life.
After high school, Granny worked for Dr. Smith, a Bessemer dentist. This photo was taken in the late 1930's.
She married my Papa, Delmar McCaig, Sr. on February 22, 1941. Early in their marriage, she would travel all over the country to visit Papa who was in the Army. She told of long train rides where her feet and ankles would swell from standing so long just to be able to spend a few precious days with him. Papa passed away in 1984, leaving Granny a widow for almost 28 years. Although she missed him, she led a very full and active life after he died.
On October 4, 1947 my dad was born. He was her one and only child and she loved him the way a mother should love a child. Anyone who saw her with him or heard her speak of him knew this was true. One thing we always heard from her friends was how she carried him until his feet dragged the ground. That always tickles me to think of the sight.
She graduated from the University of Montevallo with a degree in early childhood education. She taught first grade for 25 years. I can only imagine what a wonderful teacher she must have been. Her sweet nature was perfect for teaching a young age. Anytime I went anywhere with Granny in Birmingham, her former students would come hug her neck and tell her how much they loved her. It was very nice to hear from several of her former students after she died. I thought I'd share a part of an e-mail from one of these students:
"Try to remember the first day of school. You are a first grader. You don't know a soul at school, and you are scared. You walk in and are greeted by a sweet face that makes you feel welcome and safe. That was your grandmother....I am very thankful to have had her for my first teacher."
My sister, Tori and I had the best Granny ever. I often say she was what everyone dreams there grandmother should be. My early memories are of being with her and Papa in their sweet, little house in Hueytown. Her house was as cute as her and I often long to go back there. It always smelled so good, was so open and inviting, and was filled with so much love. She would sing and read to us, cook anything we wanted and spoiled us like a grandmother should.
Even though Granny lived two hours away from us, she always had time for me and was always there no matter what. There was never an excuse of why she couldn't make a birthday, school event or just to visit. She was just there....anytime and every time. That is the way it should be. I can honestly say she never let me down, disappointed me, or failed me. Hopefully one day when I have grandchildren, I promise to try and be the kind of grandparent she was.
The past 12 years, she has lived with my parents in Tallassee. She loved Birmingham, and it was hard for her to leave, but I selfishly admit I am glad she was here. She was here for the birth of all three of my children and has shared their birthdays and holidays with them. Some of the happiest times I remember of Granny are those precious moments she shared with Georgie, Jack and Daniel. I will never forget her smile the first time I saw her hold each one of them. She loved them, and in turn they loved her. I am so thankful she got to see them and know them and more importantly, they got to know her.
Granny and Georgia Anne - 2004
Granny, Daddy and Jack - 2007
Granny raised my Dad and devoted her entire life to him. In turn, my Dad and Mom need to be thanked for being the ones to step up and give back to Granny the way she gave to all of us. They took the best care of her in her final years. She never had to live in a nursing home. They allowed her to be with us daily and be a part of the family she loved so much.
I am sad she isn't here. I am sad she will miss seeing my children grow up. I am sad I won't be able to see her sweet face and smile anymore. I keep reminding myself of a verse from the Bible that is so true. "The day of death is better than the day of birth." (Ecclesiastes 7:1) I am reminded by my 8 year old daughter that Granny is happy in Heaven....she is with her parents, her sister, her husband, and her Lord. For that I am thankful!!
Sara Cook McCaig
July 26, 1917 - March 9, 2012