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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering Ruby

 Last year was a really hard one for Ruby.  She spent most of the year in the hospital recovering from heart surgery and she lost her beloved daughter, Belinda, to cancer.  When my mom told me that Ruby was coming with us to the beach this year, I was surprised and elated.  I realize now that this vacation was Ruby's way of saying goodbye.

I want to draw big wings behind her in this picture because she looks like she's about to float into the sky.

Here are just a few examples of why Ruby was extraordinary:
  • She hated tunnels; she was terrified that they would close on her.  When she drove through one, she would lay on the horn and scream for Jesus to get her through!  
  • She loved the Lord.  Her church was a a huge part of her life; she was there every Sunday in a beautiful outfit with matching hat.  The Sunday before she died, she strutted to the front of her congregation and gave a testimony of her life and her faith.
  • When she was seven years old, the hem of her dress caught fire, and she suffered severe burns on much of her body.  Doctors didn't think she'd live to see her next birthday.
  • She always had an emaculate manicure in a bold color, and she wore a different ring on every finger.  My sisters and I made it a point to have our nails done for Ruby's funeral in a way she would appreciate.   Lizzie's were particularly on point.
  • Ruby once burnt a tick off my scalp with the tip of her lit cigarette. She didn't singe a single hair on my head.  
  • Ruby was the most comforting person in the world.  She never refused me a snuggle in her lap; it didn't matter if I was 7 or 27.  She called us "Her Girls." She called me "Her Baby."

  • She never learned to swim, but she did enjoy sitting in a beach chair at the edge of the ocean and feeling the water rush up around her.
  • 5 months ago, I called her, and we had this conversation:
Jessica: Guess what Ruby?

Ruby: (very matter a factly) You're pregnant.

 Jessica: You don't sound very surprised. 

Ruby: Well I'm not surprised.  I've been praying for this.

  • She was a member of my family for 35 years.  Here she is with my sisters before I was born.

  • Ruby was an amazing cook.  She had a signature meal in our house that we always asked her to make for us: fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and peas.  The night before her wake, my sister and I made this meal for my family.  I think we did her proud.
  • Every day at the beach, Ruby said, "That baby's a boy!"  Turns out Ruby was right :)

My mom spoke at Ruby's funeral.   She said that she and Ruby sat at the kitchen table and figured life out together for thirty-five years.  My mom went on to say that she doesn't believe it has to end because she can still feel Ruby's presence all around her.  I can still feel her too.


  1. Such a touching and wonderful tribute. I'm sure she would have proud of the food and the nails. You guys did a great job! I am so sorry for your loss Jess and congrats on your baby boy.

    1. thank you so much for your sweet words mayra. i hope to see you and the girls really soon. xoxo

  2. thank you for sharing your loving words of Ruby. you were all very blessed in so many ways .it's a very sad, sad day when a loved one dies- yet a miracle happens- ones memories become ever so alive! hold onto them all!! I am so happy to hear that you and Dylan are having a baby boy! I'd love to see you both,maybe Charlie and I can come to nyc this Fall....see you ,and meet little London Rose......take care,love,aunt sarahchristine

    1. thank you for your sweet words sarahchristine. i hope to see you and charlie in the fall. xoxo

  3. Beautiful remembrance. I remember hearing many stories about Ruby from your sisters.

  4. Thank you Mr. Watkins (I don't think I can call you anything else :)) It is so nice to hear from you.

  5. Such a wonderful post! I'm sitting at my desk crying like I knew her!! She must have been a very special lady. I'm sorry for your loss, but you have an angel in heaven watching over you and your unborn baby!