Thank you so much for your lovely messages about my Nana. They mean a lot to me and I loved reading them. I especially loved hearing that some of your favourite posts to read of mine were about Nana. They were some of my favourite to write! I did my first tribute to her soon after I started my blog. Several people referred to her as the “famous” Nana, and she would have loved that! I’m so glad I could share her with all of you and you could get to know her and love her, too. If only she knew how many people she touched.
I’m not done talking about her just yet, I have learned many lessons (and recipes!) from her and I don’t want to forget, but I need to collect my thoughts on that first. Right now it’s one day at a time.
I have my moments, as expected, but I am okay. I was on my way to dinner with friends and then a Kings of Leon concert on Monday when my dad called to tell me the news. I missed his call and was going to call him back but then got busy at the restaurant with the girls and figured I’d just do it later. I’m so, so glad I didn’t call him back. Finding out in public would have been awful and I’m not sure how I would have reacted. I don’t know how to be upset in front of people. Obviously I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the concert, so I would have left and gone home. But there was nothing I could have done at that point so I’m happy I was blissfully unaware for a little while. Kings of Leon was a really good time.
I’m not sure the guy in front of us enjoyed it quite as much as we did. He was not a fan of the couple directly in front of him.
It was Evan who broke the news to me when I got home that night, which I’m sure was super fun for him as I was clearly still on a concert high and came in the door singing “Yeahhhhhhh, your sex is on fire!” (Kings of Leon song). I’m so glad he was the one who told me though, at home, where I could just process by myself.
I knew this moment had to come at some point so I’m surprised at how shocked I was. I just saw her, and she was same sweet, happy Nana. But I know she’s been in a lot of pain for a while, even though she put on a brave face. Nothing specifically wrong really, just being old and her body breaking down. I’m so glad she’s not in pain anymore.
I also know that she has been ready to go for a couple years now. When she was 100 she somehow lost her dentures – she put them in a tissue and left them beside her bed, and we think the nurses accidentally threw them out thinking they were garbage. It really sucked for her because eating was her favourite and without her teeth for the last couple of years she hasn’t been able to enjoy her favourite foods. She could only eat soft things and liquids. No more Turtles and cookies! She didn’t get new teeth because they’re expensive and at 100 what’s the point of spending money on teeth you can’t possibly have the time to use? Her plan was to just ride it out. But on her 102nd birthday I remember her saying “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have gotten new teeth!!!” Which makes me laugh. Fair enough. I hope she is surrounded by all her favourite foods now and is just going to town on them.
I’m glad it was sudden and peaceful. It seems so fitting for her, too. Quietly without a big fuss or dramatics. And I cannot help but think of her timing. My aunt (Nana’s daughter) left for Florida last Friday morning, arrived on Sunday, and is there until mid-April. We had a plan in place if anything happened while my aunt was away, we’re not having a memorial for her until the spring, and all the arrangements are already made. I honestly think my Nana knew that this would be the hardest and most stressful on her daughter and so she waited until she was safely in Florida. Which is again, typical Nana. Considerate of others until the end.
I’m sad that she won’t be able to make it to our small family wedding in Toronto (although I don’t know if she would have been able to make it anyway). But I’m so happy she got to know Evan and she knew that we were getting married.
One of my favourite memories was when she asked me what Evan’s last name was and I wrote down “Evanoff” (mine/her last name). That really made her laugh. Actually, my favourite recent story of her is when I told her Evan and I were engaged.
I went to visit her when we got home from Cuba, and I wanted to tell her the news in a visual way since by this point she was nearly completely deaf. I took off my ring and showed her pictures from our trip that I printed for her, in sequence. One of us on the beach…
The one of us in the water just after Evan proposed…
During this she just kept saying “Oh beautiful! Beautiful couple!”
In case she missed the ring on my finger in that last one, I then showed her a picture of just the ring.
I think she got it then.
But just in case, I pulled out my actual ring and put it on so she could see.
Her reaction was priceless. Her eyes welled up and she gave me her genuine “Beautiful! Wonderful! Oh fantastic! Ohhh I love this!”
And then she checked out the goods.
She approved. More beautifuls, wonderfuls and fantastics.
It was a beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic moment that I will forever cherish, however, this took place in the main room with the other residents and the entire time this was happening there was a lady in the background yelling (to herself) “JENNIFER! You get in the car right now! Don’t you make me get your father! I’ve got a JOB, and you DON’T, THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE! Hurry up and get in or I’m going to call the policeman!”
Super awkward at the time because I was trying not to laugh, but now I think it makes the story better.
Another recent moment that I will forever cherish was the last time I saw her, when we showed Nana a picture of her young husband that my aunt found in an old album.
I’ll never forget how her face lit up. She just repeated how handsome he was. She sounded so happy, and so lucky that she had such a handsome husband. And seriously though.
Papa (who I never got to meet) was handsome. It makes me happy that my Nana is finally reunited with her love.
We are all so lucky to have had such a wonderful lady in our lives.
Who was THE MOST beautiful, wonderful, and fantastic.