Featured Photo above courtesy of Pexels
March 10th would’ve been my maternal grandmother’s 97th birthday. I had 4 wonderful grandparents but there was something special about Nana.
I was her only grandchild so you can just imagine all of the love and attention I received.
When I was younger it used to drive me nuts the lengths Nana would go to show her affection. The loving stares, the frequent love pats. After a while I was like, “Ok, Nana. I got it. You love me. Geez. Enough already!” Mom would say, “Amy, she is only showing you how much she loves you.” And I would say, “Well, does she got to do it so much!?”
Due to my low self esteem and issues with bullying, discrimination, rejection and harassment I received while in school due to having a learning disability. Looking back, I think I didn’t feel worthy of having someone love me the way Nana did so I would act inappropriately, hoping she would come to understand that I am not worth loving and just move on.
God bless Nana, as she never quit showing me love and attention. No matter how many times I’d take my dissatisfaction with myself and life out on her, Nana was always right there with her big, bright smile, continuing her display of affection.
As I got older, I began to finally understand just how lucky I was to have someone love me as much as Nana did. And how very much we needed each other.
I needed someone to show me that I was worthy of having someone love me and after my grandfather passed away unexpectedly, Nana needed to know that it was all right for her to get as affectionate as she wanted.
I came to understand that by rejecting her attention, I was rejecting Nana as well.
And Lord knows I didn’t mean to imply that. I was so caught up into my own world that I failed to see just how fragile Nana truly was.
She was perky and fun-loving but underneath all of that was someone who felt lost… very much like me. I needed love to be shown I am worthy and Nana needed to give love so that she herself would feel worthy.
In 2011, I got a call that Nana was diagnosed with esophageal cancer… and it was terminal.
Upon learning this, I immediately went to visit Nana at the nursing home. This was Nana’s home now in which she was placed after having a series of other health issues.
As I walked up to the front door, to my surprise – There was Nana sitting right by the door in her wheelchair flashing her big famous, bright smile.
Outside of being at the door that day, Nana mostly stayed in bed. When I would come, I’d take her for rides in her wheelchair. There was this little hill by the Physical Therapy wing that she loved for me to take her, whether going up or down – I’d always go reallyyyy fast!!
Nana would put her hands in the air and shout, “WHEE!”
It was during this time that I wholeheartedly apologized for my unkindness so long ago. Nana, without hesitation. Forgave me instantly…
She said, “It’s ok, You were young.”
Man, that did me in! after hearing those words, I just lost it..
After Nana died, I began what was going to become a 7 year long journey of finding my true self. I knew I had to do some serious soul-searching. I was 34 years old and I was still feeling the effects of all that I went through.
I am happy to say that I am finally there and I would not have gotten here if it weren’t for Nana. She showed me just how worthy I really was and am. It was during the difficult times when I felt like giving up that I reminded myself that someone believed in me, even when I didn’t.
Nana’s been gone for 7 years now and there are still pieces of her all over our place. She’d spent the winters with my family and I. She and I shared a bathroom.
In the top dresser drawer, is where Nana kept all her combs and brushes. I hadn’t even touched them. They’re still there.
I remember her every time I watch NCIS, she truly enjoyed that show as she was a huge fan of Mark Harmon and whenever I hear the song “Everything I Do, I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams, I would think about the time we all, including Nana went to the movies to see the film “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves”
I remember Nana saying to me one day, as we looked up at the clouds together, how fun it would be to ride on one those. Now, every time I look up and imagine which cloud she might be on, going “WHEE!” with both hands flailing high in the air.
I was without a doubt so blessed to have had her as my grandmother and I know without a shadow of a doubt, she would say she was blessed to have me as her granddaughter.
After all, She was my Nana. She was my friend.