I remember sitting at this table bawling my eyes out after the conversation releasing me from any further obligation to come and see you one last time. My Aunt told me that I had traveled down south to be there with you countless times over the last year, that you knew my heart. Yet still, I had to come, to be there with you at the end. Because that is what you taught me, that's what we do.
A week before your death, I spoke to you one last time one the phone. In a moment of clarity, amidst the pain and medicine, you told me, "I love you, now don't you cry. Tell everybody up there I love them. Goodbye." God had sent my best friend to be with me that day, and I finally figured out why. It is a very sobering moment to have your beloved grandmother, a second mother, tell you goodbye and acknowledge that she knows that she is leaving this earth.
Forshadowing sucks. It was less than a week.
My husband, daughter and I traveled to be with you. I felt you were waiting on us. I knew that you needed us to tell you that it was okay to leave us. We were the last two girls you raised. Me and my daughter. We were your girls. And you were my beloved Nana, the last direct link to my mother, and to my maternal lineage.
We spent one last day at what turned out to be your "laying in.' The entire family gathered and had a celebration of your life and your legacy. One big, last, family gathering for you. You loved big family gatherings so. Big, loud, lots of laughter and tears, as everyone said their goodbyes. As the next generation learned how we treat our sick and dying. They learned how to minister that day, and how to give of themselves simply by being there, by holding your hand, and by speaking the words you were waiting for.
You didn't leave us during your last family gathering. You snuck out alone early the next morning, so as not to be a bother to anybody. That was your way. Always taking care of your family.
I could go on and on about the details of planning and orchestrating your wake and burial, but I won't. I will remember. I will remember the good times, a lifetime of beautiful memories lived with you, and I will cherish them all until the day I leave this earth to be by your side.
I will remember your sunshiny disposition. I will remember your smile. I will remember how children brought you happiness, as did I. How your face lit up when you laid eyes upon me. I will remember your ornery sense of humor and your wittiness. I will remember your fierce devotion and loyalty to our family. I will remember that you always believed the best of everyone, even when they disappointed you. I will remember you every single day for the rest of my life. I see you, your morals and values every single time I look in the mirror and see your green eyes staring back at me. I will always remember you Nana. I love you more than words can express and miss you like crazy. You were one in a million and one in a lifetime.
I will always remember.
I love you now and forever.