My friends and readers,
Thanks so much for being patient with me during the transition from laze-about blogger to full-time employee with a blog side-hustle. Sixty may be the new thirty but I’m here to tell you that sleeping has always been the new sleeping and it’s absolutely the most wonderful thing… especially when you’re learning a new job instead of retiring. That said, I’m loving it. The job, I mean. Nothing like giving the brain a good workout and boy, oh boy, this job certainly accomplishes THAT!
Anywho, that’s not what today’s blog post is about… obviously since you see the title. But I did want to give you a pat on the back for hanging with me. So, thank you!
So, this Nana and Bappa… what and who are they? Meet my mother’s parents… as shown in the featured photo… who were together for their entire lives.
While both sets of my grandparents were wonderful, I was especially close to Nana and Bappa… and Nana the most because she lived 25 years after Bappa passed. I was 21 and newly married when he died on a hot July day after mowing the lawn. He went out as he came in… full of the dickens and doing what he wanted.
I told my mom (just yesterday) that he was my spirit animal. He had a weight problem, he had heart problems, and he had another problem… he was bigger than life.
He loved people, dogs and food (not necessarily in that order) and the outdoors and fishing and traveling and talking and meeting new people and gatherings with family and friends (and nobody *wasn’t* a friend) and alone time in his garage.
His hugs enveloped you, his smile invited you in and his eyes knew you.
It was no surprise that he was in the medical profession but true to his core, he had a special place in his heart for children with developmental disabilities.
He holds – now and forever – a huge part of my heart.
Nana was a compliment to him, with warm eyes, a knack for decorating and welcoming all into her home. She was a great baker, a sharp Scrabble player and crossword solver, a wily Gin player (the cards, not the bottle), a staunch believer in Christ, a lover of root beer floats, and her house always smelled of freshly brewed coffee and Estee perfume. She loved dogs, too, and together they picked out Cindy the year before Bappa passed away, who became her companion and confidant for more than a decade.
Also, she was my best friend.
In my twenties and thirties, I spoke with her nearly every day on the phone. I can still picture her sitting on the powder-blue laundry hamper – it was one of those strong, padded beauties – the cord stretched to the bathroom from its table in the hallway. That was before cordless phones. Crazy technology.
I used to say that when she died, you could throw me in the grave after her. Yes, I can be dramatic but that’s how strongly I felt. I didn’t know how I would live without her. But then she got sick and old and didn’t know who she was or why my dad and mother – her only child – were taking her on a plane ride. In some of her less-frightening visions, Elvis was serenading her… but other times, she literally had no idea what was happening, nor did she care. I think she just wanted to go home. To Christ, to Bappa, to Cindy. And when she did, I found I was relieved.
Sometimes, when my health anxiety and hypochondria is at its worst, I think that Nana and Bappa are already there, waiting for me. Nothing to be afraid of.
Today is the fifteenth “anniversary” of Nana’s trip home and a day I like to set aside and mourn.
May I have her warmth, gratitude for life, grace, and graciousness… I miss you, Nana!
And Bappa, may I have your lust for life and integrity. I miss you, especially your bear hugs!