A friend of mine once wrote that life is the only real cause of death. Life is granted, we come into existence and slowly life takes away from itself until there is nothing left but the memories of others and records in the ether.
On December 12, 2010, Carrie May Russell died of life in a hospital in Alabama. She was the last of her mother's many children to enter the grave. Her absence is felt by her child, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren and many others who had the fortune of knowing her.
Carrie May took care of many. She cooked food, drank gin, gambled and dipped snuff. She did not suffer bullshit. She walked many miles across the Old South, the South that my own child will never understand, much less know. She saw Martin Luther King give sermons and she turned her gun on enemies and friends.
She was my grandmother.
She would sit on the porch as I played on the farmland. She told me when to tend to the pigs or feed the chickens or till the soil with the tractor. She called me out for being a mama's boy. I ate her cornbread and watched her make stew over a cauldron. She watched me when my mother went off to work and spanked me for my misbehavior. She was my grandmother.
If there is a heaven, she will tell Jesus that maybe he should watch his mouth because the dead don't bury the dead. She had to bury many in life and now her family will bury her. The earth will swallow her body and everyone dressed in black will forever feel the ripples of the wake.
We tell the departed to rest in peace. But Carrie May will rest however she damn well pleases.
Here is an interview from a couple years back. Her last recorded words.