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Still in Mourning – RIP Nanny

Every day my heart aches missing you, but some days are worse than others.  On New Years Eve I think about the one New Year’s Eve that we shared a pina colada before I went out. I had never seen you with a drink (that is ok, I drank enough back then for both of us), but when I walked in with Pina Colada coolers and you looked at them longingly and said “Oh, I used to love pina coladas” how could I not offer you one. Sharing that coconut and pineapple flavoured drink with my Nanny made my night. I was late for my party and I did not care. Drinking was (sadly) my thing in those days and you took a moment to share that with me. Sitting across the table from you, watching you enjoy that Pina colada, savouring every sip, while you shared stories of your life was so heartening. I bragged to my friends all night. How could I not, you were their Nanny too. They all knew how much you meant to me, and to be able to tell them we shared a drink was one of my proudest moments.

Every Easter season is impossible not to miss you, I see those carrot shaped, all orange, Reese’s pieces and nearly cry (and sometimes do). The smile on your face every Easter morning when you woke up to your white bunny and those Reese’s pieces that you loved so much. I loved playing the Easter Bunny for you after the millions of things you did for me. Nothing made me happier than making you smile. You always made sure my Easter was awesome with your little scavenger hunts to find our treats, drawing little pictures to find the next clue. The least I could do was make sure you had your second favourite candy.

Mother’s day kills me because no one was more of a mother to me than you. I have had a handful of strong women assist in my upbringing, but none compare to you. No matter how hard life got and how homeless I became, you were ALWAYS there to bring me in and help put my pieces back together. You were always there to listen to my many problems. You were always there to set me straight. You were always there to give advise and always there to give comfort. I tried so hard to make you happy on Mothers days. Spearmint leaves, pink sweaters, sappy cards, my time. But I could never top the year we got you a trip to Montreal to see Shirley and Andre Rieu. I remember your face like it was yesterday; the shock, the disbelief, and even the denial, and then the happiness and love. I couldn’t have arranged a better gift without putting Mr. Darcy in the seat next to you. Kyia and I will spend today watching your Mr. Darcy in your memory.

Thanksgiving. There is no one I have ever been more thankful for (until Kyia came along and even then, you were so close in second place, we might as well call it a tie). What is Thanksgiving without you? It is hard to give thanks when the person you are most thankful for is gone. I miss spending the day with you and our crazy ass family. I miss your Turkeys. I miss your mashed potatoes. I miss your Gravy. I even miss your can of cold peas. You always thought your meals were just OK, but Nanny I wasn’t lying when I told you how delicious they were. I can still taste every delectable detail. The mushy carrots and the homemade tart cranberry sauce. Remember the year we had that processed turkey made by my sister… the whole meal was a disaster, dry turkey, over creamed potatoes and so-on, but we ate it anyway. You refused to complain despite everyone else’s complaining and bitching. You were better than that. You were better than all of us. But it was a pretty good laugh later.

Nanny

Your birthday is a really tough one because it is the one day that is all about you. It is the one day where, this year you should be 86. It is the day that this world was gifted with the most kind, beautiful, funny and forgiving person I have ever known.  It is the one day that white cake is on the menu … white Sobeys cake. (Unfortunately I will not be able to partake in the cake this year with my newly discovered gluten intolerance…but Kyia will have some).

Christmas is family time and I miss spending it with you. Your heart being so thoughtful, you always made dinner early so that everyone had time to go to visit other family. Not having any of your Christmas ornaments that you made tears at my heart. Never again being able to wake up with your tree to admire leaves me grief-stricken. But Christmas is most hard because I was planning to come home for Christmas last year. I was planning to come home to see you. We were going to surprise you and show up Christmas morning to be by your side and make your holiday season bright. We had gifts and plans and held onto so much excitement. But that didn’t happen… Now with one grandmother who passed away just 2 days before Christmas, and one who touched my heart like no other gone…Christmas just doesn’t seem right. Sure I fight my way through it for Kyia’s sake, but really I don’t even want to get out of bed. Last year it took everything in my power to decorate and pretend to be happy. I am sure this year will be much of the same.

There are so many days, sites, circumstances, events and items that make me think of you and cry, but nothing hits harder than today. Today tears fill my eyes and I cannot control the flow, the anniversary of your death. 1 year ago today my phone rang around 5 am, waking me up from a deep sleep. It was my mother. My heart sank. I knew. I just knew. Why else would she call me at 5 am on a Saturday. I grabbed my phone, got out of bed and left my room. I shut my bedroom door as to not disturb Finn with the call. I took the first step on the stairs, my heart sank and my body shook, as I answered the call knowing what was coming, but hoping it was something else. I heard her cries, her sniffles and hysterical sobbing, I still hoped. Then her words went threw me like a knife. “Mom died…” I am sure my heart stopped momentarily as I dropped to the floor. There was nothing I could do. My body just stopped working. My mind faded and there was suddenly a waterfall of tears making their way down my cheeks. Mother continued talking, but I was in a fog. I heard and understood nothing after those first 2 words. My whole person was numb. My insides were tearing apart and my outsides were soaked with tears. Realizing that I will never again see your silly smile. I will never again hear your kind words. I will never again feel your unconditional love. My heart and soul held more pain than I ever thought possible. I wanted to wake up from this horrific nightmare … I still do.

I thought about sharing my favourite memory here, but I can not narrow it down to just one. 40 years of memories were made and they all hold an important place deep in my heart; like the time you used the term “deadly” or the time you told me the story of the cast iron frying pan you threw at Grampy or the many summers we spent in Maces Bay walking along the beach collecting beach glass or golden grove picking berries or the Owl clock I made for you in shop class or the games of Aggravation Rummy where you always kicked my ass or the the time I ran away from home and you told me that I always had a safe place to go and that you would always be here if I needed you. well I need you, Nanny. I always need you. Every time I remember you, I smile at the memory and then cry in anguish from missing you so very much. My heart fills with warmth and then falls to pieces. The saddest part of all is … with you gone, who is supposed to help me put the pieces back together…

You were my Grandmother, my mother, my rock, my stability, my conscience, my friend and I miss you so very much. I don’t know how long it will take to heal, to feel better, for it not to hurt … but 1 year is not the number. I hope you are resting peacefully. Nanny. I love you.

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Can I work this like a journal? Home

Home. What is home? Until about a couple weeks ago, I thought home was where you came from and where your family is. I do not believe this any longer.

I went “Home” recently to realize that that was not my home. My family (most of them… there are exceptions to every rule, right?) is horrible and the city is trash. I hated it. That visit/vacation was the worst week I have had in a very long time. High levels stress and low levels of fun and relaxing.

I moved away with my daughter 1-2 years ago (it was a complicated, long story of a move). We ended up in this city that we enjoy just over a year ago. I have friends, Daughter has friends, we are happy. This is home now. Home is where you are happy. This is my new belief. Home is not where you are from. Home is where you are happy.