Monday, October 28, 2013

Dear Nana

Dear Nana,

Here I sit, watching you sleep in your hospital bed; my eyes red from crying, my nose raw. I wonder if you still dream, and my brain is flooded with memories of you comforting me from my nightmares when I was a little girl.

You're here because you're sick, but you've been sick with something far more sinister for much too long. A disease which I curse every day because it has robbed you of what I know you cherished most. Your memories.

I find it interesting that every Christmas from the time I was a teenager, I would buy you a new journal and ask you to write in it for me, knowing someday they would be mine. If only I knew then just how important they would become...

They're mainly filled with simple stories from your day to day life, tales of the trips we took together and you regularly writing about missing me. If only I'd grasped how quickly it moves. Youth warps our perception and reality of time, and parties and careers take the place of being rocked on our Nana's laps. I miss the sweet space of your lap and can still feel your arms wrapped around me.

Nana, I love you. I love you from a place so deep and pure that my only comparison is the love I feel for my own children. I love you fiercely and sweetly and your comforting voice is etched into my being.

And I know you love me too. I know, because every so often, even though you no longer remember my name or know I'm your granddaughter; there is a look of presence and knowing. Sometimes it happens just when you hear my voice. I know there's a spark there, buried beneath the blackness of your brain eroding disease.

It happened several times today.

I know I was a mess from the time I walked in your room. I was crying long before I even walked in. When you handed me the box of tissues this afternoon I couldn't even believe it. There isn't really a reason to question if you were aware. You just did. I said "I love you, Nana" and you smiled. It was a two second moment. The knowing looks are gone as quick as they happen. A lot can happen in two seconds and I'll take what I can get. And then of course I wept even harder.

I got the call from my mom and got here as quick as I could. They still don't really know what happened. One minute you're stealing people's rolls off their plates- then you face plant in your potatoes - and then you're here.

Thankfully you're stable now, and they think you may just have pneumonia. It's one of the two things your regular doctor said will probably do you in because you've always been in such excellent physical shape. That really pisses me off as I know how much you'd prefer a better adventure. But alas, only time will tell, and thankfully today isn't the day. Somehow I knew it wouldn't be, which made this fast trip out that much more important to me.

I needed to smell you and hold your hand. Your skin is still so soft and the great beauty you once were is just below the surface. I needed to lay next to you in your hospital bed and tell you all my secrets and hopes and fears, just like I did with Grandma Grace before she died. She was like your mother, and I feel blessed to have had the two of you in my life and there to nurture me. Silent strength- both of you. I told Grandma Grace I wanted to say my thanks and goodbyes while she was still alive which made her happy. I know you'd tell me the same thing if you could.

I guess in some ways, that is what I'm doing here now with you, even though your body may carry on for some time still, though my gut tells me it won't.

There's a baby crying here in the ICU which breaks my heart. Fragile, fragile life...You love children and babies so much. Your face still lit up when I showed you videos of Zane & Zoe earlier.

Nana, life is scary. I'm an only child and our little family is almost gone.Your parents, siblings, step-parents, husband- and of course your memory. Part of me feels like I lose you over and over again. Alzheimer's Groundhog Day. It really fucking sucks.

Really, I just hope you can feel my love. I hope you can feel my energy wrapping around you in big, deep purple, warm, calming waves.

Nana, did I mention how much I love you?

Because I do.

All my love,


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