Monday, August 23, 2010
Nana's legacy of love
My Nana passed away today. Nana was a one of a kind person. She melded a sweet,loving personality with just enough spunk to make her a riot. Nana has been sick for a few months and I have spent a lot of time reflecting on her and the impact she has had on my life. And it all comes back to love.
Nana and Granddaddy were high school sweethearts, married, and had three daughters. They moved frequently because Granddaddy was a Methodist minister and his church assignments changed every few years. Through the years, moves, children, grandchildren, and all the things life throws at you they stayed in love. Granddaddy died 20 years ago (I can't believe it has been that long!) but even his death did not change her love for him. When Nana spoke of granddaddy I swear you could see that 14 year old high school freshmen with a gleam in her eye talking about her first love. I used to love to ask her stories about Granddaddy just to see her glow. She always wore her wedding ring and every year in our yearly family picture she made sure that our whole family was situated in a way where Granddaddy's picture was in the shot as well.
Even as a young girl I saw something in their relationship that I knew I wanted in my own one day. They had so much fun together and their love and respect for each other showed in ways that you can't fake.
Nana was everyone's Nana. If you met her, you called her Nana. And she was a hugger. That is just how she was. Because I went to college close to where Nana lived I had the opportunity to take many friends over to Nana's house. I so enjoyed introducing my friends to Nana because many of them had grandmothers they did not get to see often or that had passed away and Nana would be more than happy to share the Nana love. She never forgot ANY of my friends and asks for updates on every single one of them.
She also welcomed her grandson-in-laws into the family with the widest open arms you can imagine. Except she would never refer to them as in-laws - Shawn, Kelly, and James are her grandsons and that is the only way I ever heard her refer to them. This was especially meaningful to Shawn and myself as his own parents and grandparents are deceased. I loved that there were no "in-laws" and we were all just her grandchildren.
And I will never forget the way she welcomed her only great grandson into this world. When I went into labor early in the morning on Sunday, Sept 13th last year her and my aunt Teresa got in their car and drove six hours to where I lived to be there when Fisher was born. Of course, things didn't exactly go as planned and they had to leave without even seeing Fisher or holding him. But Nana and my two aunts Teresa and Jonna turned around and drove BACK the day after Fisher got out of the NICU just to meet him. And that has always meant so much to me. So even though Fisher will not remember the times he spent with Nana, we have pictures and most importantly I will never forget the truly unconditional love she showed to me, my family, and my friends. I am sad that Fisher will not grow up getting Nana hugs but he will benefit from the love that Nana taught me and he will benefit from that his whole life.