Do you ever get anxiety leading up to a certain date or time because of a past traumatic experience? Anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays always make you think of the one person you want to share them with who you can no longer do that with… Well today, 31 March 2020 marks the five year passing of my nana, my mother’s mom. We always called her nana because my father’s mom already had grandchildren and was designated as “Grandma” and we wanted to designate her as something special in her own right.
Nana, for a lack of a better term, was a bad ass motherfucker. She was born in 1928, grew up during the great Depression, went on scholarship to Northwestern University during WWII while the men were at war, got married in the 50’s, raised two children, got divorced, became an executive for Coca Cola in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and decided to retire from Houston, Texas to NW Oregon state in the early 1980’s. Her two children moved up to Oregon with her to be close to family. She remained single all the rest of her years and was extremely independent. She had many close friends, loved to read, enjoyed painting, baseball was one of her favorite pastimes, and she could sew like no other. I mean, she has won state wide competitions for her sewing. She created paintings essentially with needle and thread and it is spectacular.
In the mid ’90’s, my nana became a nana for the first time. She was inseparable from my older sister. Then I came around, and her and I never really clicked. I was very stubborn from a young age, just like my mother, and it got on my nana’s nerves and so she and I were never really close. My grandma, however, had seven grandchildren, including my sister and I, so I didn’t receive much attention from her either. I was definitely a momma’s girl, if that’s even a real thing.
As my sister and I grew up and my mother’s schizophrenia became more prevalent, my sister clung to my nana as a mother figure, while I took on the mother figure role. I think my nana respected me a lot in my later years at how I was turning out, just like I had respect for her, I just don’t think we would have ever been close to one another.
Like I said previously, my nana was very independent in the sense she died as independently and peacefully as possible, almost like she got to plan her own death or that God made her wishes a reality, that I don’t know. But she was hospitalized on a Tuesday, and by the next Tuesday morning, the morning she was supposed to be discharged, she passed on. She wanted to be out of the hospital for opening day of baseball season, which would have been April 5th of 2015. She didn’t make it past March 31, but if you look at it this way, she had the best seats in the house; up in Heaven.
The last time I saw her was on Sunday, March 29th in the intensive care unit. I drove four hours from home to Portland, Oregon at 3pm to try and get to the ICU before they closed at 7pm. I didn’t make it in time, but they let me in because they knew how far I traveled and my family was already with her. I had work that day and I couldn’t leave the store any sooner than 3pm. I called her on my way down to Oregon and she kept saying she wanted me to buy her strawberry ice cream and bring it along for the four hour drive, not realizing it would melt due to her ill state. So before the hospital, I stopped at a 7-11 store and bought a pint of strawberry ice cream. She couldn’t eat it in the ICU, but she was so impressed the ice cream didn’t melt on the drive over! Then she admitted that she favored my sister over me, which we all knew… but still, that bitch… GRR.
I was only 17 when she passed and now at 22, damn time flies. She was the first person to die in my life of any importance and it has made me a better person in a sense. I say the words “I love you” often to those whom I love and care about, I make a point to visit and talk to all my family because you never know how much time you have with them. Even if I don’t like my family members at times, I still go and visit often because it means more to them than it does to me and still leaves me feeling pretty good about myself; like I’ve done my duty.
I will leave you all with this life hack that my nana taught me and I quote, “Don’t tattoo your boyfriend’s name on your boobs because a tattoo is permanent, while on the other hand, a boyfriend is not.”
Til next time,