You know the saying “When it rains, it pours.” Well, it’s true. It’s been less then two months since Andrew passed away and last Thursday my sweet grandmother went home to be with the Lord. My Nanny (that’s what everyone called her) lived a long (approaching age 89) and beautiful life filled with so much joy, laughter and love. She was the only grandparent I ever had a relationship with and it was a very special one!
I was honored to speak at her service and to share about the ways she shaped me into the person I am today. Nanny planted the seeds of faith in my life long ago when she taught me my first prayer. She lived with us and slept in my room. Each night, before bed, she would lead me in a prayer. “Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.” After the prayer we would name everyone in our family and ask God to bless them. I started wanting to know more about God and Heaven and we would stay up late into the night discussing the mysteries of God. The other way my Nanny shaped me was through her love for people. She taught me how to really “see” someone. To acknowledge people and to bring them in and thus making them feel like family. I do my best to allow loving God and loving people to guide my life and it all began by watching Nanny.
Seeing the way it should have been done (passing away after living a long life and having a beautiful funeral service filled with kids and grandkids) only reminded me of what could have been with Andrew. I hate that his life was cut short and that he didn’t get the chance to help raise Ellie and experience the joy of watching her grow up. This morning I went into Ellie’s room and she was talking to herself in her crib. I approached her and she told me she was playing. I asked her what she was playing and she said she was playing with Daddy and Colton (her cousin). She was laughing and told me she was pretending. I asked her if she could pretend I was there too because I wanted to be with them. She said, “Yes.”
The day of Nanny’s passing she had all of her kids and most of her grandkids by her side. When I walked into the room I immediately had flash backs of Andrew’s last hours. She was breathing in the same pattern that he was and I knew I was about to watch her pass away like I had done a month ago with Andy. It was a hard day. I felt grateful to be there with her until the end and I felt fear about watching her take her last breath. Mostly, I was worried about my dad because he was devastated by Andrew’s death and now he was losing his greatest cheerleader. It was so difficult to watch him be so sad.
At the end of the day it was an honor to be by his side and to help him and the family write the obituary and plan the funeral. As hard as it was, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learned so much from everyone who has taken care of my family and me during the hardest time in our lives and it motivates me to give back whenever and wherever I can.
The consistent lesson I’m learning is that life is precious and the people in it are such gifts. Tell them what they mean to you now, show them how much you love them because when it is all said and done love is what remains. I love you!