“Mame what’s-a-ailen’ you youngin’?”

The interrogative would be posed to me often. My Mam-maw could’ve said, “What is wrong with you?” Or “Is something bothering you?” But her mountain raising and simple cut to the chase methodology led to her all encompassing question. 

“What’s a-ailin’ you youngin?”

She knew me well enough to know when something wasn’t quite right. She would know even if I didn’t quite know what it was myself. I don’t rightly know how she always knew, but she did. 

Maybe I was as a child as I am now as an adult, somewhat melancholic. But I reckon it had to have been her God-given intuition. 

She’d ask me what was a-ailing me even as I grew older and her mind began to give way more often than not to the thief of Alzheimer’s. 

She would ask the question as to the source of my ailment, my pain, be it physical, emotional or spiritual. 

In all fairness I didn’t always know and couldn’t always say what the source of my ailment was but I was always mystified how she knew there was a source to be found. So many times she’d just snuggle in close or hug me and I immediately felt better.

Mam-maw went to heaven a long while ago and nobody has asked me that exact question in quite some time but in the wee hours of the morning over a rerun episode of Andy Griffith, it came rushing back to me and so did some tears. I was caught completely off guard. Barney was silently, sulking around the courthouse when Andy asked Barney what was a-ailing him. 

In the days of late my heart has been aching. Try as I may, I can’t quite shake the sadness. 

Like my Mam-maw my little pup seems to know my heart is achy and she’s been extra close and hot on my heels. The evening I had a bad headache, she wouldn’t find herself too far from me. I found myself wondering just how she knew. I’d not said anything out loud, hadn’t telepathically communicated it that I knew of, she just knew I needed some extra snuggles and firmly planted her wiener dog body at my side. 

She was still there about 4 in the morning when Andy was on the TV and  had posed the obvious question to Barney. I realized in that moment how much I missed Mam-maw and her ways. 

Sometimes grief is like that, just hits you out of nowhere and is compounded by other loneliness, losses and sadness. Then as Barney droned in about his issue, and my wiener snuggled in closer, I came to a realization. 

In our sadness and brokenness, the King is near, He snuggles in close like that wiener and we don’t even have to tell Him something is wrong, like my Mam-maw and my pup, He already knows. 

He already knows how bad it hurts and sad we are. He already knows and He promises to stick close and to intercede for us in the places we need it most even if we don’t even know how to say what those are. 

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