missing and connecting with my nana // one year later

by eringoodman on April 24, 2017

in essays+reflections, grief and loss

Nana with Sunflowers

Posing with my Nana in her backyard in the mid-90’s. 

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Some days it’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since I held my Nana’s hand for the last time.

Other days it feels like a lifetime and I think,

Has it really only been a year since I last heard her joyful belly laugh?

In the past year, I have had moments of beautiful, lucid connection with her, where I feel as though we are conversing in a sweet new love language.

(I’ve written about this previously: seeing songbirds // is it a sign?)

Nana and Linda

Nana snuggling with my Auntie Linda in 2015.

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Other times, the pain of grief literally takes my breath away.

Like the time last fall when I was leaving a meeting in my grandparents’ town.

It was a bright sunny day, my windows were open and my radio was on. I was stopped at a red light about to cross the street to get on the highway towards home when my brain innocently said:

Wait! It’s only 2 o’clock. You don’t have to pick up the kids today. This is a perfect time to visit Nana.

I reached down and clicked on my left blinker with the most peaceful feeling in my heart.

And then, as I sat there with a smile on my face, waiting for the light to change, reality punched me in the gut.

Oh my God. How could you forget? She’s not there, Erin. She’s gone.

And tears that required me to pull over, knowing it wasn’t safe to drive, poured out.

Nana - bw

My Nana in 1944.

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There was another time, not too long ago, when a customer named Thelma marched into the cafe where I work and I could barely keep myself composed.

Thelma was full of joy and life and chatted enthusiastically with everyone in line and then with me when she arrived at my register.

As I took her order and listened to her stories, my eyes welled up with tears.

Oh my goodness, what a spitfire, I thought.

Which immediately took me back to the long days and nights in multiple hospitals and nursing homes as my vibrant, spunky, beloved Nana — who fell and hit her head while getting her newspaper one morning — went from living independently, driving, and doing her own grocery shopping to being on Hospice Care in a matter of months.

Even towards the end when my Nana’s body had started to shut down, the doctors and nurses were amazed by her positive attitude, quick wit and ability to deliver a perfectly timed joke.

Rev. Erin Goodman - Rhode Island - Nana

Reading prayers and singing church hymns to my Nana, April, 2016.

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My grandmother wore many hats in her lifetime. She was a slight woman, barely 100 pounds soaking wet, we often said, but always — right up until the end — she was a spitfire.

And she is deeply missed by all on this earth who were blessed to be loved by her.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kelly Sage April 27, 2017 at 4:03 pm

The last picture- I see such love there. This time in life is a bittersweet season. We lost the last grandparent in June and now are watching as our parents take their place as the oldest generation in our family. Hard.

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