My Big Mama

Ruth Loughridge Nutt is my Big Mama, my mother’s mother. My mom is the baby of five. She has lived pretty much down the driveway or at least in the same town as Big Mama and yes, Big Daddy, her whole life. Which means I pretty much always lived near them, too. Until I moved to Texas nine years ago. Big Daddy went to Heaven in 2001, exactly 359 days after my first husband. We imagined Big Mama would follow within a couple of years, because they’d been married for almost 61 years. We did not reckon with her zest for life. There were simply too many people to visit, too many grandbabies, and great-grandbabies to hold, and too many books to read.

Big Mama went to Heaven yesterday at 3:30pm. With the exception of the first photograph, these are just a few images I took of her over the past 10 years, mostly taken in the last five. Oh, obviously she’s pretty short. Why “Big Mama”? Because Dori, the first grandbaby, started calling her grandfather “Big Daddy.” And that’s why.

Big Mama and Big Daddy at their 60th wedding anniversary.Celebrating her 90th birthday.Doing what she always loved to do–photograph her family at the beach. Usually cutting our heads off.With me and my sister, Jenna.This past summer, holding Jude, the newest great-grandbaby of the family. He lives in Alaska so this was a big deal for them to meet.Big Mama with her five children: Richard, Evelyn, Nancy, Jan (my mom) and Ned.Too frail and unable to keep her balance, we’d help her walk out to the water and dunk her in once the waves had passed. She absolutely loved swimming in the ocean. Even at 94.

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile, we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling…For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (II Corinthians 5:1-4)

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  • Charlene Nolte (Kara's aunt)January 15, 2012 - 3:27 am

    Rachell–My love and sympathy to you and your family in the loss of your Big Mama. Thank you for sharing these precious pictures of your loved one. I can certainly see why she was an inspiration to you. Blessings–CharleneReplyCancel


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Rachael Hall is an Austin, Texas event photographer specializing in corporate events, b'nai mitzvahs and social events.



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