Obituaries

Vernice Jean Birdsong

(August 28th, 1925 - August 31st, 2017)

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“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart).”  Anyone who knows me knows that this is one of my favorite poems by E.E. Cummings and it sits so heavily on my heart as we mourn the loss of my grandmother, Vernice Jean Birdsong.  I feel so blessed, in my life, to have had 3 incredible grandparents who were all strong, supportive, and loving.  Last week, however, I said goodbye to my last living grandparent, on August 31st, three days after her 92nd birthday and I am heartbroken. We knew it was the end.  She was 92, her body was slowly failing her, but her spirit and her mind were so strong that it was hard to accept the reality of the situation.  As I sat with her, we talked about the past and the wonderful memories we both shared.  My grandma was amazing.  She played Nintendo, freaking Nintendo!  How many people can say that about their grandma?  I remember when she and my brother sat playing and they beat both Mario Bros. and Zelda.  She became best friends with my other grandma and they did everything together.  I asked her, ‘how did you guys become so close?’  She replied, ‘we just clicked.  I’d never had a friend like her.  Who couldn’t like Grandma Graves?’  She drove until she was 90 and lived on her own until the very end.  She adored my children and lit up every time she saw them.  She always did a huge Christmas Eve and an Easter spread with insane attention to detail and love.  She used to scratch my back and sing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and we used to haunt the bathroom waiting for grandpa to leave the toilet seat up so that he would have to take us to McDonalds. ‘He did it on purpose,’ she mused.  ‘He liked going as much as you all did.’  She told me about her parents and how loved she always was.  Her eyes filled with tears as she remembered her stepfather, Roy Bacott, who was so kind and treated her the same as if she was his own child.  ‘Memories,’ she sighed, ‘hold on to them; they’re all you have left in the end.’  It’s true… that’s all I have now and I am so thankful for them.  ‘You know we all love you,’ I whispered shortly before the end.  She nodded her head yes and mouthed the words ‘love you.’  Grandma, thank you for the memories, unconditional love, and beautiful example of the human spirit. Vernice was preceded in death by her parents Louise and Roy Bacott, husband Neil Birdsong, son Daniel Birdsong and daughter-in-law Laura Birdsong.  She is survived by son Roy Birdsong and wife Kathy, son Robert Birdsong, daughter-in-law Terry Birdsong, four grandchildren, Ashley Williams and husband Shelby, Nikki Parker and husband Kenneth, Jonathan Birdsong, Chase Birdsong, Jeanetta Birdsong and eleven great-grandchildren, Preston, Vivian, Kassi, Jaimasen, Kyler, Will, Caroline, Jasmine, Caden, Tallulah and Sebastian. Funeral mass will be 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, September 6, 2017 in St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Catholic Church, Springfield, MO with Reverend Thomas Reidy officiating. Visitation will be 10:00 A.M., Wednesday  until service time in the church. Burial will be 11:00 A.M. Thursday, September 7 in Missouri Veterans Cemetery, Springfield. Arrangements under the care and direction of Barnes Family Funeral Home, Ozark. Online condolences may be shared at wwwbarnesfamilyfunerals.com.     

 

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