It’s a small word. A quick word… yet it holds tons inside its five letters.
Pain, sadness, confusion, heartbreak, sorrow, anguish, loss– it’s definitely a loaded, complex, heavy word.
The feeling of it… the feeling of it… the feeling of it…. How do you put that into words? I don’t know if I can.
As my beloved Nana is nearing her last days, all the feelings of sadness and loss are raw, and right at the surface. The grief of knowing she won’t be there anymore when I step into their home, the one I’ve known all my life, the one that holds many, many, many memories with her, it hurts. That house is Nana and Papa’s house, and always will be, but she won’t be there. That saddens me. I have to remember, that just because her earthly body won’t be there, she will still be there, no matter what.
Memories of my sweet Nana– the wonderful, lovely memories– they will always make me smile, laugh, and yes, cry.
* Her love of the color fuchsia.
* Her always matching her lipstick, blouses, and pants perfectly. I mean, perfectly. It was a talent. Our trips to Hamrick’s were an adventure… trust me!
* Her scrambled eggs. She made THE best scrambled eggs. I have tried and tried and tried for YEARS to get my eggs like hers, but it proves to be impossible.
* Her never-ending quest to collect umbrellas. No matter where we went, she had to buy an umbrella. Yesterday, my mom was going through some drawers in Nana’s dresser, and found a stash of at least ten, small, never-used, still in the packaging, umbrellas. I couldn’t help but laugh.
* Her quick-witted words. She always had a good come back. Just yesterday, as we were surrounding her bed, papa leaned over, gave her a kiss on the lips, and told her “that was the best sugar I’ve had all day”. Even in her sickly state, she mumbled, “It better be.” That’s my nana!!
* Piddling. She could piddle around in her purse for hours. Sometimes, I don’t think she really knew what she was looking for, but she could always pull something out that she had forgotten about. It could be a packet of jelly from Hardee’s or a mint from the fish camp. Heck, if you ever needed a toothpick, it may have taken her ten minutes to find it, but she’d get you a darn toothpick.
* Her making my Christmas nightgowns. Every Christmas Eve, Dena (my angel of a cousin who passed when I was 21) and I would get a nightgown that Nana handmade for us to wear for Santa’s arrival. We’d run to the back bedroom and change into them before leaving nana and papa’s house. That way, when we got home, all we had to do was run straight to bed. Oh, the excitement of putting on those long, warm, gowns… the perfect ending to what was always a fun celebration on Christmas Eve.
*Her hands. Nana always had beautiful, slender, soft hands. And yesterday, I was able to hold and kiss them for the last time.
I hate to talk about her in the past tense already, but all-in-all, her mind and body are already making their transition to the spirit world, where she will gain her wings, and be my angel.
The next few days, weeks, and months will be tough, but knowing she will be out of pain and will no longer suffer from the horrible disease of dementia, will comfort us as a family. And knowing she will always be a part of us–will always have her beautiful handprints on our soul– will keep us smiling at the beautiful memories she will leave behind.
I love you, Nana. I’ll see you again, but until then, please visit me. Please send me a sign you’re there. Heck, feel free to piddle in my purse. I don’t mind. I’ll even put some fuchsia lip stick in there for you.