Mildred Griffin: The center of our universe’


My mother lies in a hospital bed. She is small, still and silent. The air around her seems tinted pink, her signature color.

The nurse wakes her and looks at me.

“She your Mama? I like her. She’s feisty!”

Mother is telling her how, when and where to stick her arm for blood. This is nothing new. Walk into her house and time speeds up, clocks begin to whir, everything flies around in circles, and we all want to be right in the middle of it all.

She is our hub, the center of our universe.

The doctor asks, “To what do you attribute your living to be 93 years old? Did you smoke? Did you drink?”

“No, no and I didn’t cuss much.” Then she apologizes for the joke. “It was by the grace of God and knowing Jesus Christ as my savior.”

Her words are a witness, but her life is so much more so.

People love to hear her talk. Born in 1920, she tells of the struggles of the Depression – how they took away their only milk cow and her grandmother sat on the porch and cried.

There were letters with the words blotted out from her brother stationed in Italy during the war.

She tells how that boy in fourth grade winked at her, and she knew she’d love him and be married to him for over 70 years.

She lives life to the fullest. She gave life to me and four others, and many more claim her as their “Granny.”

Babies, puppies, birds, flowers and gardens thrive at the touch of her hand. She uses life up and fills it up at the same time.

There is no end to her giving.

“Live your life,” she says.

My brother makes a funny and she laughs out loud.

Life is precious.

Every moment with our mother is a memory we will keep forever.

About the author: Susan McBride is married to Jerry McBride, an optometrist in Fulton. She is the mother of two daughters and four “fantastic” grandchildren. The McBrides live in the Pratts community, next door to her mother, Mildred Griffin, on Susan’s grandfather’s old homeplace. A former medical technologist, she now spends time with her family and volunteers at East Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Susan McBride