My Nana died this morning. This is my favourite recent(ish) photo of her (with my mum).
She had Alzheimer’s for over a decade, and didn’t know us anymore; she couldn’t form very many words and did not appear to understand most of what was said to her; she wasn’t really *in there* anymore, and her body’s continued existence has been a considerable strain on my mother who was visiting 2-3 times a week and on my extended family who likewise was very attentive; she was in her mid-90s, and lived a long, mostly happy, life . . . so this is not a tragedy. But I find that, despite logic and my own predictions of how I’d feel, I am very sad.
I’m sad that I am so far away from my family at this time. 1,750 miles is too far sometimes. And I’m sad that she’s really finally gone.
Nana was funny and kind. She was strictly ethical and a devout Christian who was always very forgiving of others. I remember her laughing with me over grapenut ice cream on the yellow formica of her kitchen; watching with me through their backdoor when some small critter wandered through their yard; letting us play with her adding machine; telling me over and over that my terrible childhood poetry was beautiful; I remember her dancing to “Mrs. Robinson,” the lyrics of which she clearly didn’t understand; I remember her telling us that women had a duty to always do as their husbands tell them and laughing with delight and a total lack of apology when Mum pointed out that she only did what Grampie wanted when she had already intended to do that thing anyway. She loved Laura Secord French and frosted mint chocolates; the last time I saw her I fed her some other kind of chocolate, I don’t recall what kind, by hand, and she patted my arm for awhile.
The last thing she said to me while she still knew who I was, was “I love you,” her hands gripping my shoulders, and I said, “I love you too,” and then I said, “I’ll remember for both of us,” and I still will.