My grandmother turns 95 on January 4th

I remember being on hands and knees by my bedside, praying you would make it to see me graduate high school. I remember how I started to cry after seeing you, in the front round with jewels for a smile and you clapped for me. Now I am a junior in college, praying that you will be able to see my sister graduate in June and I from college next year.

All of this goes to say- that it is hard to remember how powerful prayer is. It is hard not to think of it as wishes granted, to remember what having faith truly means. You taught me all of this. Who God was and what at having faith on the day-to-day looks like, how to worship, how to not have fear and always give thanks.

But I won’t lie; I am completely selfish and I don’t want to lose you yet. There are so many stories I feel I haven’t heard, so many recipes I have to write down and laughs I feel we still must share.


I have saved each one of your voicemails in my phone since 2013. All of your letters are tucked in an envelope in my dorm room or on taped on my wall. Whenever I am sad, I just listen to one of your voicemails and read the bible verse you tell me too at the end. You are a blessing and have continued to be blessed, grandmother. You who have came from nothing but with your unwavering strength made it into everything. We are here now - we have made it. There is no longer a need to cry but you know me all too well. I like to cry over foolish things, materialistic things but you know of harder times, of true heartache. And still you laugh and smile. You tell me to eat even though I replied 10 times that, “Yes, granny I am eating.” You tell me to look up and keep focused on God, not to fear though I still do fear. I fear that I will be states away when the lord takes you, I fear I wouldn’t get to hear you laugh or smile with you for that one last time. I fear that regardless of how strong I am I won’t be able to keep it together. You have and always will be my rock. My definition of beauty and queen and strength. Though I am selfish, please don’t leave me too soon. Wait a while, till I am back home in New York for good and we could make bread and roti. Then, you will sing to me and I will sing to you and we will fall asleep together arm in arm, still smiling.

by Ashley Croker-Benn

Ashley Croker-Benn