The Henry Project

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Maya Angelou

 

Death has a way of pulling the rug out from you in unexpected ways. In the past 6 years I have lost six family members. As soon as life seems to have adjusted for the loss, death comes back to remind us that normal is relative. 

After learning that my Uncle Henry passed, I decided to stop being so passive about loss. Each member of my family left me with memories that encapsulate what they mean to me. I hope to share some of those memories here with you through images that combine symbols of our relationships.

 

My grandmother Yvonne Faye Pate passed away before I had the chance to make a lot of memories with her. Most of my knowledge of her comes from others who say that my mom and I look like her or that we are sassy like her.  When I think of her, I remember the phone call to South Dakota to tell us that she had passed. I remember the red cushions in the funeral home. And that is it. I know she was a good cook, loves yellow roses and was one hell of a lady from the memories she made with other people. My niece and I are named after her, so I think a piece of her lives in each of us.

My grandmother Yvonne Faye Pate passed away before I had the chance to make a lot of memories with her. Most of my knowledge of her comes from others who say that my mom and I look like her or that we are sassy like her. 

When I think of her, I remember the phone call to South Dakota to tell us that she had passed. I remember the red cushions in the funeral home. And that is it.

I know she was a good cook, loves yellow roses and was one hell of a lady from the memories she made with other people.

My niece and I are named after her, so I think a piece of her lives in each of us.

Herbert Pate was my grandfather. We weren't the closest of family but I do know that he loved me. Sometimes I think it was hard for him to be around my mom and I because we reminded him too much of my nanna.  I remember his garden, his big hugs and overwhelming use of Old Spice. He was a man about town who loved the ladies and carried a fork in his pocket incase there was a dessert around.

Herbert Pate was my grandfather. We weren't the closest of family but I do know that he loved me. Sometimes I think it was hard for him to be around my mom and I because we reminded him too much of my nanna. 

I remember his garden, his big hugs and overwhelming use of Old Spice. He was a man about town who loved the ladies and carried a fork in his pocket incase there was a dessert around.

My great grandmother Dorothy Weathers was full of love.  Her smile made you feel like nothing bad could ever happen.  She made a mean carrot cake and loved oatmeal cream pies. I think the most important thing she taught me was to not worry what other people think. She divorced her husband in the early 70's and married Malcolm Weathers, who everyone called Frog because of the tone of his voice. While this doesn't sound extraordinary, Frog was a black man and small-town-Kentucky still frowned on interracial marriage. She didn't care. They found the one officiant in the county who would marry them and stood up for their love.

My great grandmother Dorothy Weathers was full of love. 

Her smile made you feel like nothing bad could ever happen. 

She made a mean carrot cake and loved oatmeal cream pies.

I think the most important thing she taught me was to not worry what other people think. She divorced her husband in the early 70's and married Malcolm Weathers, who everyone called Frog because of the tone of his voice. While this doesn't sound extraordinary, Frog was a black man and small-town-Kentucky still frowned on interracial marriage.

She didn't care. They found the one officiant in the county who would marry them and stood up for their love.

Margaret Ann Watson was known as Mog by everyone. Her sister, my great grandmother, couldn't say Margaret Ann when they were little and Mog stuck. Mog and my Mamaw were peas in a pod.  Mog was a pistol. She told you how she felt and didn't hold and punches. She called our priest Fr. Blow Hard after a long homily.  Her and Uncle Henry lived on Goose Pond Road for as long as I can remember. After Henry went into the nursing home, their house was torn down. Now crops grow where they spent their last days together.

Margaret Ann Watson was known as Mog by everyone. Her sister, my great grandmother, couldn't say Margaret Ann when they were little and Mog stuck.

Mog and my Mamaw were peas in a pod. 

Mog was a pistol. She told you how she felt and didn't hold and punches. She called our priest Fr. Blow Hard after a long homily. 

Her and Uncle Henry lived on Goose Pond Road for as long as I can remember. After Henry went into the nursing home, their house was torn down. Now crops grow where they spent their last days together.

This is an ongoing project.