July 1, 1919 – April 2, 2009
Early this morning my grandmother passed away. She was Mama to her own children, Nana to her grandchildren.
She was tough. Not tough in demeanor, but rather in her will to survive. She was a breast cancer survivor, had had by-pass surgery, and was diabetic, among other things.
The last several years were hard on her. Heart, legs, and most sadly, brain, started protesting sincerely. Dementia lapped higher and higher on the shoreline of her mind. Still, her expressive personality shown through in moments of lucidity. When I last saw her a few days ago, she looked at my mother and said, “I’ve been through the mill.” Indeed she had.
My Nana’s final years were trying. No doubt, parts of her earlier years were difficult too. I’d like to think that, despite those cloudy times, the sun shown down on her most days as her smile radiated warmth and emotion. I hope her final memories were of sun-filled days when cares were few and laughs were many.
As for my memories of my Nana, my mind winds back to when I was a young boy. My Nana and Grampie would go to Crane’s Beach with my mom, sister, and me. Almost every moment at the beach was fun, but when my Nana and Grampie joined us, joyful nuances would appear. The shade from an umbrella would always be ready for a tired child. Tiny fruit juices with foil tops would be chilled in a steel, green Coleman cooler. In the late afternoon, we’d leave Crane’s and drive down Argilla Road. On each ride, my Nana would tell me about the three bears and how they lived in a particular house on that road. I think they lived near the ice cream stand that we’d inevitably stop at to placate our sweet tooths, my Nana’s the sweetest of them all. My memories.
May my Nana rest well.