They Called Her Gammy

But I called her, "Mom."
I first met her before marrying Joey.
Our wedding pictures were the only pictures I’ve ever seen Gammy sad. I’ve since learned, it’s never easy to give away a son. But she did.
By doing so, she gained a daughter.

When our first baby was born, she arrived a few hours later. A practice she kept for every baby born afterward.
I could count on chicken soup, fried chicken, cleaning and laundry and so much more. 
I’d cry when she’d leave, wondering how could I be a mom to all these boys without her help?
I’m not sure where my mothering skills would be without her.
It was from her I learned to look for long hair wrapped around little toes and fingers, and how to prop pillows just so, so their little head wouldn’t get bumped when they toppled over.
She showed me even changing diapers could be a moment to cherish.

Nor without her would I have a clue how to cook like a Mexican. 
Not by any exact measurement, but a pinch of this, a bit of that, and taste and see. 
She’d serve everyone, making sure their portion was “just so.” 
She didn’t just make a meal, she poured out her love.
When we visited, we could count on a full spread, whether we arrived in the morning, or late at night.
Her meals carried us through, whether it was for another day, or until we’d see her again.
When Joey’d returned home from his army weekend, the boys looked for the saved comics, left-over burritos and bananas. 
A little reminder of her house brought to ours.

She shared stories of childhood, being a wife, and life.
In her reminiscing, she taught me to savor those moments with family
To cherish those fleeting moments.
She showed me those irritating interruptions—weren’t interruptions but opportunities to give an extra hug—even when it made dinner late.
Even as we’d leave, she pressed her love into her hugs and say, “Call me when you get there. Be careful. Oh, mijo, it’s so far.”
As a mom with grown boys, I understand those words now more than ever.

Her house was cluttered with pictures—of those she cherished and times she had. I’d expect nothing else.
She took quiet moments in the morning with her Bible, cup of coffee and sweet bread to reflect on God’s good moments as well.
She always had time for a call, even when it interrupted her Dodger game. 
She never forgot a birthday. Always sang and sent a card.
Everyone shared their burdens with her.

With her own heartaches, she shared only the funny, good times. 
She found and remembered the good—even as dad forgot her, she’d retell those times we could laugh over something he did or said. 
Like how he called her “Hell” in a crowded supermarket, when she was in another aisle. 
Her visits were marked with laughter and joy. 
She loved her coffee and sweets.
When we’d tell her, “Take care of yourself,” we knew she wouldn’t.
She was busy with others. 

Would she change anything if she could?
My guess would be, ‘no.’
Because those little acts of kindness—meals, gifts, hugs, listening—done over a lifetime made her special to everyone.
This room is filled with people touched by her kindness.

God knew she needed her hands full until the end.
But when she reached the other side, her hands didn’t hold a child, or even a phone.
But I can see God waiting with that cup of coffee and sweet bread for her to sit and tell Him about His goodness to her.
He’ll say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant. 
You were faithful taking care of all My little ones, now I will take care of you.”
But those of us on this side wish she could still pick up the phone when we call, for every trip we now take won’t seem complete until we are able to “Call her when we get there.”
But if she had a phone, she’d be calling us and saying, “I got here. It’s worth it. Make sure you get here too.”

It’s not for everyone to do what she did. 
She’s been my mentor all these years. 
I watched and tried to imitate her.
But like one son recently told me when I didn’t put mustard on his sandwich, “Gammy would have put it on!” 
I could never be Gammy, no matter how much I would try.
But God doesn’t want me to. 
Nor can any of you take Gammy’s place.

God’s way to the other side is not by being like Gammy. 
It’s by accepting Jesus as the only way to take away our sin.
By calling on His phone—through prayer, finding His answers through the Bible explained by His Spirit, so we know the way we should go. 
Our path will be different from Gammy’s. 
Yet we will be better because she touched our lives.
That’s what God’s Spirit in us does—changes us on the inside to be like Jesus. 
People around us will know that God was with them, because we’ve obeyed Him.

So when you finish that trip and want to call Gammy to let her know you’re safe—she’ll be busy. 
But God won’t be.
If you’ve called on Him for salvation from sin, He’ll be waiting on the other side for you, for that special moment that says you’re home.



I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Displaying all 3 comments

Thank you for sharing. Makes me think of my mom. Doing and taking care of everyone else’s needs. I still have her here with me but it’s not the same with her crippled body and forgetful mind but I remember always saying “if I can be half the woman/ mom/ wife/ child of God , as she was, I’ll be alright “

What a beautiful tribute to Gammy, and to you who were wise enough to follow her example. Very few mothers and daughters-in-law have what you had, a rich blessing for both of you. And we can see why Joey is the man he is because of her Godly influence. Thanks so much for sharing.

Thank you for sharing. We all want to be like Gammy but very few are. I see you in some of the things you said about Gammy.

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