Well...my Nannie passed away on Feb 1st. I remember driving to the hospital for my final visit with her thinking, "I'm so glad I am an adult now, and this will be easier than when Popa died and I was only 17" Once I got there, she was very much alert and talkative. I sat on the bed beside her holding her hand. She stroked my hand and we talked about the kids. She told me that she was getting ready to leave this world, but that she wanted to see me in heaven one day. Aunt Brenda was in the room with us, when Nannie looked up to the sky and said, "Do you hear them????" I looked over at Aunt Brenda like.....did she just say that? I said, "No Nannie, I don't hear anything, what do you hear?" She said, "They're singing Amazing Grace, sing it with them, baby!" Aunt Brenda and I both started crying, and I tried to compose myself to sing the first verse. Tears just rolled down my face as I sang for her. She tried her best to comfort me by bringing me close to her and saying, "don't cry, baby". I knew she was hearing angels.I told her I knew she was leaving, and that it made me so sad because of how much I would miss her. It was such a precious moment in time. I'll never forget it. She didn't pass away for another couple of days, but she declined rapidly, and I decided not to go back to the hospital, because I didn't want to taint my special memory. It was just as hard as when Popa died. I had not emotionally grown passed being so hurt. I am reassured in my faith that I will see her again, but I do wish I had her here still. I wish I could call her for prayer, or to tell her about the kids accomplishments. I wish I had picked up the phone more times when she called. She used to call me and we would talk for an hour, then she would call back the next day wanting to talk more, and I wish I would have picked up instead of being so busy.
She spent her last Thanksgiving here at my house. The photo above is from that day.She was so happy. I remember sitting on her lap and talking about what we were thankful for. She would always say that she was most thankful for Jesus. I remember hugging her and smelling like her perfume for hours.(She would put on half the bottle, then anyone who came near her would smell like Beautiful) I think I might get myself a bottle of Beautiful just to have and wear every now and then.
I am planting a Gardenia bush in my yard in the Spring. Gardenias were her favorite. I remember my Popa always had them for her. He would go down our little road passing Gardenia's out to all of his daughters, and me, his only granddaughter. And of course, Nannie always had a big bunch on her kitchen table that he had given her. I imagine him meeting her in heaven with a big bunch of them in his hand. I've always thought of him whenever I've smelled a Gardenia. Now I will think of them together.
Nannie's viewing and funeral were wonderful. I got to see so many people who's lives she had touched somehow through her 87 years. She was born in Wildwood, and she lived her entire life in that little town. Most of the people I saw were those I haven't seen in 10 or more years. It was so strange how it seemed as though no one had changed. Everyone was still so warm and even looked the same to me! It was very hard for me to stand over her and see her in that casket. I hated it.
I didn't bring my kids to either service. I didn't feel it was right for them to see her open casket. They are both already taking it hard enough. Steven I think worse than Amanda Lily, although this morning before school, Amanda Lily just started crying. Literally, out of the blue. I asked her why she was crying and she said "I don't know" I said, honey is it because of Nannie? She shook her little head yes with tears falling down her cheeks. It broke my heart all over again. I know how they feel. They have a pretty good grasp on the fact that we won't see her again in this lifetime, but are happy to think of a reunion in heaven one day. One night last week, Steven was very upset, crying. My Dad went up to talk to him about it, and he said, "I know we will see her again, but it's harder for me, because I have many more years than you left on this earth." His little 7 year old self gets it. Then, there was the night that Nannie died, and I told them. They both cried and had lots of questions. Amanda Lily did what she does best....create. She made a beautiful drawing of her and Nannie holding hands next to a cross and wrote on it. "I luv u Nanee, u r a swet hart" (I love you Nannie, you are a sweetheart) Then, that night she put it under her pillow and prayed for Jesus to come and take it to Nannie in heaven. I guess she thinks if the tooth fairy can get teeth, then certainly Jesus can get a special letter. I took it from under her pillow that night and put it away to show her one day. She was so excited that Jesus came and took the note, I know it brought her comfort.
I was so glad to be able to go to Nannie's services, and not have to think twice about if my children were in good hands. I am very blessed to have good friends in my life who are there for me whenever/whatever, and they watched the kids so that I could take part in the services.
Nannie's funeral was a tribute to her legacy. She had her daughter playing the keyboard, grandson on the drums, and her other grandkids made up the ensemble. We sang songs she chose, and read verses she wanted read. We had church. It was just like she would have wanted it. I wondered how people felt about us not being more somber, and singing all those praise and worship songs. We were having a celebration of her home going. It was what she wanted.
Jennifer took a few photos that day, and I'm posting one of us grandkids, so that I can look back on it one day. I have another one like it from our Popa's funeral. We are all happy for Nannie because she is no longer suffering, but still sad because she will be dearly missed here. She was such an inspiration to me. I can only hope to live up to her standard. A woman about her family. She was always making it her business that every one of us was on the right path, and gently steering us when we were not. I'm certain that I'll feel her gentle guidance throughout my life. She has been one of the most infulential people in my life. How blessed was I to have her as a Nannie. Sorry that this post is so long, but I want to be able to look back on this one day and recall all the moments of her last days.