More Than a Story Dedicated to the Memory of Maxine Bridges Jackson 1939-2014

Once again I find myself turning to poetry as a way to heal and stay sane. On April 1, 2014, I lost my grandmother, Maxine Jackson. For those of you who have purchased the book, you see how I mention her and how much of an influence she was on my life. I have written a series of poems this week dealing with my grief. I may or may not share them on the website but I did want to share the piece that I wrote for the funeral that was held yesterday. My grandmother..my Nanny (as we affectionately called her) was my heart and this piece could have kept going because there is so much that I continue to think of that she has done in my life. But with this piece, I hope I did her justice. I share in this sacred space the love I have for her and I hope that we all continue to cherish and hug our loved ones a little bit longer. Enjoy!

Nanny 18

Gather one

Gather all

I have this great story to tell

One that will inspire

One that will give hope

Come quick and lend your ears

This tale is one we all have to hear

December 19, 1939

God granted the entrance of one of His most prized designs

In His infinite mind

This being, she, Maxine would

Create

Motivate

Lead

Shine

And be a reflection of His great love

Gather one

Gather all

I have this great story to tell

One that will inspire

One that will give hope

Come quick and lend your ears

This is a tale we all have to hear

Maxine, with skin that glowed in the sun

Hands strong yet always soft at the touch

Eyes that made you feel warm and welcomed in her presence

Cheeks round and thick

A smile that made others smile

A mouth that in one sentence sent positivity and in another set you straight

Cuz she didn’t play that

Hips that rocked back and forth with hands

Snapping in the air “Call the law”

We hear in our minds “Call the law”

Gather one

Gather all

She whose wardrobe consisted of different shades of red and would love to see her children

Or grandchildren in the color too

She who to her grandchildren they knew the day began

When she had her coffee

One spoon of sugar

One cigarette

And a switch ready

(That they picked off a bush the day before)

Gather one

Gather all

Got a story to tell

Years of stories

How she could feed so many with so little

How she managed so much with so little

How she commanded the room with her little frame

Her strength was not questioned, not to anyone

Especially not to her grandkids

Who would snuggle up under her in the hallway of 2231

As the storms would pass

All lights off

No sounds

And they felt safe, secure

And amazed the next day

When she would have breakfast at the table waiting on them

Gather one

Gather all

Got a story to tell

There wasn’t a day or time that wasn’t good

Her house and arms always open

She was Nanny to everyone

In their own special ways

It meant confidant

It meant comfort

It meant love

It meant peace

It meant this and all the other things we felt and still feel in our hearts

Cuz you see this is more than just a great story

It’s an imprint on our hearts

It’s more than just a great story

It’s vivid snapshots in our minds

Of her voice, her laugh, her essence

It’s more than just a great story

It’s part of who we are

She who molded us, influenced us

Maxine Bridges Jackson

We bear your name with all the power, strength, and elegance it carries

Nanny

As a child I would write your name over and over again

Proud of the letters I was forming on the paper

As I grew older and I would encounter people who knew you

I was proud of the reputation you had

I don’t take lightly the legacy you left for me

It bears with it many responsibilities

Serve without recognition

My name doesn’t have to be plastered everywhere for me to help and serve others

Fight for what’s right

Don’t be ok with just being good enough

And most importantly

Love without any prerequisites

Love others because they need it

Love others even when they do you wrong

Love at all costs

I don’t take lightly this legacy you left

Cuz you see it’s more than just a story

It’s me

It’s you

It’s everyone in this room

Crying like me

Hurting like me

And over time our pain will get easier

But we will still carry you

Over time people may stop saying your name

But we will still carry you

Over time we will have our highs and lows

But we will still carry you

Remembering all that you have taught us

We will praise God for those moments

How great He is for allowing us to be in your presence

We will praise God through our tears

Cuz it’s more than just a story

It’s God

His love

His grace

His mercy

His peace that passes all understanding

That comforts

It’s more than just a story Maxine

It’s what my big cousin has passed down to his kids

It’s what Briunna and I share with our friends

It’s how your children live

It’s how I will live and pass on to other generations

Cuz it’s more

than just a story

4/4/14

–      BCB

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