Summer vacation is supposed to be for fun. Summer camps, sports, outings, day trips, vacations.. All of those things are synonymous with “summer”.
Not our summer. Not this year.
It’s so hard to type through tears, but here goes..
Mini’s birthday was in June. Her and I were so excited to do post after post about all the fun we had for her Star Wars party. Really, it was a blast!
I have mentioned my grandmother, aka “Nanny”, in previous posts and how much I love hanging out with her. By the time school ended within two weeks of Mini’s birthday, Nanny was not doing well.
My beloved Nanny turned 93 on July 2nd. She stayed in her bedroom her whole party. She said she was too tired to come out.
By the following day, my aunt had expressed how nervous she was leaving Nan alone, so we were all taking turns watching her so she wasn’t alone all day. Since I’m home during the day, I took the morning shift while my aunt ran her errands. Mini was such a trooper, coming with me every day and behaved amazingly. She would come in when Nanny asked for her and made an emergency call when I needed her to do that too. I was amazed at how grown-up she acted during that time.
Nan was pickier than normal, asking for 3 or 4 different things to drink then asking why there were so many cups and telling me to clean up. She started seeing family and friends that had passed before her. One day, she talked to my grandfather (who passed 40+ years ago) right over my shoulder.
About two weeks after her birthday, I stayed to visit longer than normal. I don’t know why. I talked to Nan before she dozed off. I squeezed her hand and told her I loved her. She said “I love you too”. I stopped in my tracks and wiped away tears as I walked out.
She never says that.
Usually, she responds “me too” or “same here” or “ditto”.
I was talking to my aunt at the table when my father and stepmom walked in. Since we were letting Nan sleep, we sat around the table talking. I had had a rough morning with Nan the day before so I was telling them about it. Eventually, my stepmom said they had somewhere to be. My aunt said she would wake Nan up so we could all visit before we left.
Nan sat up and was looking off into the distance. “My family”, she said. “My family is having dinner and they’re waiting for me.” She pauses and then says, “I feel like I should be with them.”
My father and I look at each other. “What family?” he asks.
“Not you”, Nan gestures to the two of us. “The REST of my family.”
My heart starts to pound. I get my aunt and tell her what Nan said. My father and stepmom leave. My sister comes in. My aunt and I tell her what was said.
My husband texts me that he’s on his way through and asks if we want to grab dinner. We pick up some sandwiches and I tell him what Nan said. My heart is still thumping and I’m on the verge of tears. I’m choked up, but make it home. I wolf down my sandwich and my phone rings.
My heart drops when I see it’s my sister. Since we don’t talk, I knew something was wrong.
“Nanny’s..” she could barely speak. “She’s hemorrhaging. You need to come back here.”
I tell Mini to pack up her sandwich and I throw my food into my purse. I make two phone calls and I’m out the door. I just tell people to pray for a miracle this time.
As I enter Nanny’s room, she is green. Flanked by my sister and aunt, she looks at me when my aunt says “Tina’s here.”
I hold Nanny’s arm as she whispers what sounds like “I’m going” and she looks off into the distance and says what sounds like “I’m coming”. She is struggling, fighting.
“Go. It’s okay, Mom.” my aunt says. My sister echoes.
“Go, Nan. We’ll all be okay.” I said, trying to keep my voice from breaking. “Grandpa’s waiting for you. Your family is waiting for dinner.”
A few more breaths and she’s gone. She moves twice, still fighting. Then..
The floodgates open and I can’t stop the tears. Neither can anyone else. The family starts pouring in. Looking at her now-peaceful face, it’s still hard to believe. It was like a punch to the gut.
The next few days were a blur. I broke down often. The memorial was set for August 1st. My aunt started going through Nan’s room, letting us all take what we wanted.
The day of the memorial came and I decided I wanted to speak, so I told my aunt. I had all these amazing, fun, hilarious stories I wanted to tell. Well, I blubbered through one story and started babbling so I sat down. I felt like an idiot, but everyone was so nice about it.
A few days ago, I stopped by my aunt’s on the way to Mini’s last softball game. Nan’s room was almost empty. It felt so final. I started crying again.
The loss of nanny was huge. It’s a ripple effect. She was such a huge part of my life. She was the only one who called me to sing “Happy Birthday”. She was my lunch buddy when I wanted to get out of the house. Taking her to doctor appointments broke up the monotony of my days. She was always available to talk to.
If you had asked any of us a year ago, we would have confidently told you Nanny would live to 100. Easily. It was never a question. Things just progressed so fast. So very fast.
it hurts losing her. It hurts more than anything I’ve ever felt. It’s still very hard to believe.