Whoever coined the phrase, “Time heals all wounds,” must have never lost someone or something in their lives. Well… something of value anyway. Time may lessen the effect, but the pain is real weeks, even years, after the fact.
You see, I have been around loss from a very young age. I am fortunate to have grown up in a very old family in my part of the world where people were born before the Titanic sank. Old people would dwindle down at every family reunion, and while I was a small child, this had very little impact on me. Eventually, we no longer had family reunions because of the younger generations being busy working and raising kids. My cousin Nikki, sister Ashley, and I have made efforts to keep the tradition going. However, with the loss of our beloved Nanny recently, I have no desire for much of anything.
I know it was her time to go. She was a victim of Alzheimer’s. She smoked like a chimney like most overly independent women of the early 50s did. COPD was not her friend and caused all sorts of ailments. She was always susceptible of getting pneumonia and bronchitis whenever the weather dropped a few degrees. She loved Coke as much as crossword puzzles, and she never showed her sass unless you crossed her. Even though she dealt with all this, I don’t remember her being a sickly woman as I was growing up.
I had, still have, a hard time thinking that my daughter isn’t affected as much as me, but everyone grieves in their own way. I know this. I am mad at myself for not being able to wait on Nanny hand and foot, to keep her healthy for a bit longer, to know everything she knew growing up. This woman raised me, taught me lots of life lessons, loved me for the weirdo, overly sensitive, nerd that I am. She babied me maybe a little to much, but that’s ok. It took me 31 years and a divorce to know I was not a victim of anything. *Sometimes you got to experience life for yourself even when others are telling you all about it.*
Nanny was a peacekeeper, homemaker extraordinaire, and had tons of stories to tell. Not too many years ago when her memory started slipping, Nikki and I made sure to ask her for some of her most famous recipes. We were slightly disappointed, yet grateful, to learn that her Italian Cream Cake was no secret at all. She made it from memory, so we just assumed she was superwoman at baking, and she was regardless. That recipe was in a little old lady church cookbook she had for years!! And her pecan ( pronounced puh’khan for those of you from the south colonies) pies? Look on the back of the Karo Syrup bottle.
I learned how to be a homemaker extraordinaire from Nanny. I sew, crochet, craft, cook, bake, can put on a feast of epic proportions, entertain, garden, can, and pick poke greens in the wild if I was so inclined. You won’t see me dying in a zombie apocalypse any time soon.
I guess what helps me the most in dealing with the loss of Nanny most is being able to talk about her. My sister and I were eating dinner together this past week, and just the mention of Nanny had us in tears. I’m sure others in the restaurant thought we were crazy. Such is life, this death thing.
It has been almost a month now. Nanny passed on Mother’s Day. I was holding her hand for the last 20 minutes or so of her life thinking this moment wasn’t real. She was just asleep, and I’d see her again tomorrow. But I won’t. I hope she visits me in my dreams like Granny, Nanny’s sister, has. I’m still holding on to her as if she was here which is probably the root cause of the anxiety and brain fog I’ve been experiencing.
In the weeks before she passed, she had been in and out of the hospital for a stomach ulcer. She wasn’t eating at all as the doctors took her off the Alzheimer’s and arthritis meds that were contributing to said ulcer. Her brain told her to stop eating. What she did want was a whiskey and Coke. In hind sight, we should have sneaked her one in.
Ive been working on writing this blog for about 3 weeks now, and I feel a lot better about where Nanny is and how she is looking down on me and my family. I still hope she comes to visit me in any way. And in proper sassy Nanny style, she was cremated. She said she wanted a smoking hot body one last time.
How do you deal with grief? Do you write or talk about it? Surround yourself with loved ones? Throw a huge fit to get out all the anger? Leave a comment and let me know. I would love to listen.