Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nans and Grampa

I love this photo. It was taken back in the summer of 2004, when Nana (my mom's mom) and Grampa (my dad's dad) were over for dinner. My last living grandparents... who could have guessed that they'd leave this earth within 2 weeks of each other? I miss them. A lot. I have this picture up on my board in the kitchen and whenever I glance their way, I'm filled with love and I can't keep having a smile spread across my face. What a legacy they have left behind.

The moment when I found out Grampa had died, I couldn't keep the memories from flooding my mind. Here are just a few in random order:

-The weight chart that he and Tutu kept posted on their fridge for all to see
-His raspberry bushes that I LOVED to pick whenever I'd go over to their home
-The Hot Tub
-The Little Trampoline
-His spotless garage
-His love of trains
-His Dickies outfits
-His amazing weekly emails
-The countless laps he swam
-Knowing every make and model of every car and passing a little of that onto me
-His ability to put away food!
-His "Record Times" when driving from Escondido to Saratoga
-His absolute POSITIVE attitude no matter what came his way
-His complete ZEST for life
-His TOTAL DEVOTION and UNQUESTIONABLE LOVE for my grandma, Tutu, who passed away 7 years ago after 12 years of alzheimers.

The day after we returned from Grampa's funeral, we found out that Nana was diagnosed with lung cancer that had already spread to her bones and had eaten away her shoulder. It was a Monday--I work on Mondays. I remember coming home and Joe's mom opened the door, took one look at me and held me in her arms as I sobbed. Not another one. My sweet Nans. The kids and I went to visit her in the hospital that next day. She was just as perky as ever-- telling the nurse exactly what she wanted-- "Don't give me any pills!" As soon as she saw us walk in, all she could do was dote on us. Nothing else mattered-- we had to be introduced and shown to all of the staff. And you know what? That is my Nana. To her, NOTHING was more important than her family. And she made sure that each one of us knew just how special we were and how much we were loved. What an incredible gift that I CHERISH!

Some memories of Nans:
-Her infamous Lasagna and "Sauce"
-Teaching me how to play the Fox & the Hound and then making me feel so grown up when it was time to learn "Double Solitaire."
-Our screaming rounds of Double, Triple, Quadruple Solitaire around her card table
-Deviled Eggs and Top Ramen
-Letting me turn her extra bedroom into my clubhouse
-Her letters and phone calls "Just Because"
-Taking my 5th grade art project and having it professionally mounted and framed and then hanging it up on her living room wall above the couch--tell me that doesn't make a girl feel special. It never moved until the day she died.
-Her straight forward advice
-Her incredibly sharp mind
-Her vocabulary! She could fly through murder mysteries like they were the comics!
-Her Galore perfume
-Knowing that she stood by her motto of living life with no regrets and being able to look in the mirror and knowing that she was true to herself.
-Knowing that my Nans loved her family more than life...

I remember when I was little, I was on an errand with Nana. She took me into the Citibank with her in the Argonaut Shopping Center. I'll never forget-- the teller looked at me and then at her and said, "This must be your granddaughter, Shirley! I definitely see the resemblence!" How proud she was at the moment. How proud I am of my Nana. If I can resemble her just a little bit, I am one lucky girl!

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