Ten years ago I ignored my first cell phone ringing while in a dressing room at TJ Maxx.
I just knew.
And I thought, What do I do when I know for sure? Do I keep trying on this pile of clothes? Do I leave immediately and not buy this skirt that fits? Do I cry or scream in shock? Do I stand in line and act normal?
I couldn’t answer those questions, so I didn’t answer the phone. I finished trying things on, made the line and drove a half an hour home. There, looking out the windows of my treetop apartment, I sat down to hear the news I already knew.
Nana had passed.
It was sad and not sad. She had suffered a long time. Her end took an achingly long time to come. Good-byes had been said and then she lingered. How many times do you say a heart-felt farewell to a person you love?
For her, I was relieved. For me, I was devastated.
Ten years later and I wish she could see my happy ending. Nana was one of my best friends. We had a very close relationship that I know is one of the greatest blessings of my life. I confided in her like a girlfriend. She was a quiet listener and offered carefully-worded advice only after I spilled the contents of my heart. The last ten years of her life were an emotionally tumultuous time in mine and she knew all about my struggles.
How I wish she could have met my husband and her great grandchildren! How I wish she had the opportunity to say, I told you so, everything turned out alright. How I wish we could have bonded as mothers and wives as we shared recipes and homemaking tips. My sister tells me that I remind her of Nana. It is the highest compliment.
Isn’t it funny how it takes 20 years to turn ten, but only three blinks to go from 20 to 30 years old?
It seems like just yesterday we were laughing and sassing together, but this decade contained almost every important milestone of my life: marriage, children, home, happiness.
Nana’s brother, Leonard, passed away just a few weeks ago. On my drive to Miami, I stayed with him in Alabama for a week and was struck how he had my Nana’s eyes.
I believe in Heaven.
My Nana is up there with the husband she lost long ago, the child she had to bury and now her brother. I am still here on Earth with my husband and little ones, savoring every moment.
Even the ones which have passed.