Juanita Melviney Tanner

     My maternal grandmother Juanita Melviney Tanner (maiden name Brady or Phillips or another name depending on the day of the week) died on September 18, 2003. I spent quite a bit of time with Grandma Tanner as a young boy and as an adult. When I was little I would spend the night at Grandma's house and she would make me greasy hamburgers on plain white bread (no bun) with a glass of orange Kool-Aid in a huge Tupperware cup. I swear she put a half cup of sugar in each glass and I loved it! My grandparents lived in an old house with very little insulation so at night it would get very cold. She would tuck me into the bed in the guest room and stack five blankets on top of me.

   When I was a teenager I would visit Grandma Juanita and she would tell me stories about the family while we watched Bonanza or Sanford and Son. Juanita was a fun person to talk to and often laughed. She was also very religious and very superstitious. When Grandma Juanita passed away she had been sick for some time so it wasn't a surprise to the family. She was 83 and had lived a full life. I was called from work by my mom the day she was dying and went to her house. She was surrounded by her family when she died the way it should be.

     A few days later we had the viewing at Blount & Curry Funeral Home in Tampa, Florida. My wife Beth is a florist and is very talented. She offered to make the casket spray since these can cost many hundreds of dollars. The family pitched in and gave her money for the flowers. Beth went to the floral wholesaler and picked out several types of flowers such as beautiful white lilies, yellow roses, and dark purple lisianthus that looked like purple velvet.

     Later that day Beth was in our house making the flowers for Grandma's casket, when she looked out the window and saw a hummingbird hovering around, looking in at her. Beth excitedly told me about this when I got home. She said " she felt like the hummingbird was Grandma letting us know that she was free from pain, flying up to Heaven." This was the first time she had ever seen a hummingbird and we didn't have a bird feeder outside at this house.

     Later that night we took the flowers to the funeral home and all of the family was there for the viewing. We were shocked to see that the flowers that Beth had picked out matched Grandma Juanita's dress perfectly even though she had no idea Grandma would be wearing purple and the room she was in was.... The Hummingbird Room! The room was full of pictures of hummingbirds... So was the hummingbird at the window Grandma Juanita from the grave?

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