Sunday, July 7, 2013

Another goodbye.

Ink1 nanny and me dancing
nanny 'n me

It's hard when someone passes away, when there are so many memories, so many layers of emotions and parts of your life that come bobbing to the surface. It's been a weird, sad week in my world. First, we lost our dear friend, amongst other friends and friends of friends, and then my Grandma passed away on Friday.

Like with Andrew, I've tried and tried to put my words down and get it right, but I'm having a hard time processing all of this death in my life right now. It's so strange to be growing a new life inside of my body while watching my Grandma's life end. I was there the day before Nanny passed, and got to say goodbye. She was a shell of her former self there, sitting in that chair, unresponsive, unmoving- she looked nothing like the vivacious women I grew up with. It was upsetting.

I think at times like this it would be easier for me to believe in some sort of religion, to feel like I will see my friends or family again. To be able to pray to someone, something, anything so this could all make more sense. But I don't believe in that. What I do believe in though is the beauty of this life, now. And I believe that their spirits, souls, energy, whatever you will, it's all put back into this world, and it's part of everything I do. I can feel my Grandma around me, in the air, in the dark, in the dirt under my feet, in the dust floating in that early morning streak of sun coming through our living room window. She is everywhere.

I think about the matching dresses she would sew for my sister and me, for every holiday. I think about the cheese sandwiches on the porcelain plates, the orange-yellow couches, Mr. Wizard on the television. I remember her towel drying my sister and my hair after baths, catching frogs in the green grass, and the jelly donuts weekend mornings from the bakery down the street. She's a part of most Sunday dinners we've ever had. She's a crocheted blanket and a cup of tea, she's a cashmere sweater set and a big diamond ring. She's a New York accent and an apple pie.

I remember her always comforting me when I was little, when I felt like my "mean old parents" just didn't get me. I remember all of her stories, telling me about being born in 1920, the changes she has seen over her lifetime. I remember her and my Grandpa, the way they were, the "Helen!" and the Irish music and the bickering I always tried not to giggle over. And I'll always remember that Nanny, one of the most conservative, set-in-her-ways women I know, never once made a comment about my tattoos, which still kind of surprises me when I think about it.

Saying goodbye is hard, but I feel so grateful that I was able to do so, and I feel lucky that I've spent our time together in such a way that even though I don't believe in any promise of seeing her again, the lifetime we did have can fill my heart up for the remainder of my days.

Nanny, I love you. You will be missed.


48 comments:

  1. My condolences to you and your family Danielle!! Its always very very hard to say goodbye. Just remember the good times.

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  2. I'm so sorry, Dani. Such Beautiful words and memories. You and your family will be in my thoughts. Sending lots of hugs and love your way.

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  3. This makes me sad. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  4. So sorry, Dani. This is such a tough time for you and you know we're all here for you. I have one grandparent left, my lola, and she was always the most prominent grandparent in my life. I spent my summers at her house while my parents worked and every once in a while I feel a pang in my stomach because I know her time is limited here. You have so many beautiful memories with her, more than you've shared on here, I'm sure. Hugs to you and your family.

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  5. I'm so sorry for your loss! I'm sending all my love to you and your family. <3

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  6. So sorry for your loss. It's so hard to lose a grandparent... it's devastating. All you can do is hold on tight to the memories you have and continue to feel her everywhere.
    I hope you feel a little better every day.
    xo

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  7. Hey Danielle. I lost my little brother two and a half weeks ago and I can absolutely relate to what you said about religion. My mom is a firm believer in God, and another one of my brothers actually came to the realization that he believes in some sort of reincarnation while he was in his deepest stages of grief and horror. I, on the other hand, asked myself the serious questions and came up with ... nothing. I believe in nothing. And I really wish I could believe with my heart in afterlives or what have you. It would be such a comfort. But you can't force something like that to be true. I talk to Jaden when I'm saddest so, like you, I feel him around somehow.
    Anyway I don't know what I'm trying to say, except I think I can relate in some ways to your loss. For real, if you want to vent about inappropriate relatives at funerals or stupid shit people say to you when you're grieving or other stuff I'm just an email away. novaisawesome at gmail.com

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    1. I can so relate to you... especially on the inappropriate relatives at funerals part. Stay strong. <3

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  8. I'm so sorry for your loss. You and your grandma were so fortunate to share so much love. Everything she did for you, all the love and lessons you soaked up, all the laughter and the tears, helps her to live on through you -- your children will know her through you. Take care of yourself.

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  9. I am so so sorry, Danielle. I recently lost my gramma, who raised me, of a sudden heart attack at only 59. I know how you feel, just try to remember for who she was happy. Happy and energetic. I am not religious either but I do feel like my gramma looks down on our family and feels joy when we do, and I always say a few words to her each day.

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  10. grandmothers are the best. i'm so sorry to hear about your loss. i totally get ya with the whole religion thing. whenever some big tragedy or disaster happens, twitter blows up with 'prayers' for victims or lost ones. i feel like a fool for saying that they're in my 'thoughts'. but you gotta be true to yourself!

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    1. I feel exactly the same way about the "thoughts". Like it somehow isn't enough or like it'd matter if I "prayed" for them. But I can't bring myself to write something that isn't true, so I stick with thoughts and hope I don't offend.

      Danielle, I'm so sorry for your loss. You are most certainly in my thoughts, and I hope that your memories of both your grandmother and your friend bring you comfort in the coming days.

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  11. I'm so sorry Danielle. I'm glad you have so many wonderful memories to look back on and remember her by. My grandfather passed away back in February and I still miss him. I like what you said, about her spirit, energy and all being all around you. Even if I wasn't a more spiritual person, it would be hard for me to picture all our loved ones just...not there you know? Especially after how you described your grandmother, all that energy definitely has to go back into the Earth as something positive.

    I was raised - and still am- Christian, and while the thought/belief of Heaven and seeing my loved ones again is comforting in its own way, it's not like having them here with me physically like they have been all my life - so believe me, even us Christians (or just me maybe) can get frustrated at well meaning but inappropriate people at funerals.

    I hope this makes sense and conveys some sort of comfort. If not, I'll end this with "big hugs from GA" in hopes that gets my message across.

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  12. So sorry. It's so hard to put those emotions into words, you have done so well. My grandmother also passed on Saturday. We too visited the day before and like yours she was not the woman I knew. My
    little boy kept pointing and would climb up to stroke her face. It was very sweet and oh so sad good bye. I wasn't able to put my thoughts into words like yours and kept it very simple. Though I couldn't let her passing go by without mentioning her on my blog as well. My thoughts are with you.

    Bettina
    www.littleoldsouls.com

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  13. I am so sorry, lovely lady!!! Remember all of the precious memories that surround her, and you and your family. The love, the care, the laughter, the tears. Every bit matters. Be safe, be loved, love back and allow yourself to feel every emotion.

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  14. My heart goes out to you and your family at this sad time in your lives Danielle. Be strong, I know it all seems overwhelming at the moment but it will get easier. Remember, time that is not spent loving is wasted.

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  15. Sending lots of love in this difficult time. Find strength in knowing she is all around you.
    Rosie x | Every Word Handwritten

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  16. I'm so sorry for your loss...may you find peace.

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  17. So sorry for your loss, I can see the love in the photos.

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  18. I'm so sorry for your loss, Dani. My grandmother passed a few years ago, and I can relate to your feeling her presence everywhere. It's comforting. Sending lots of love and positive thoughts to your family!

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  19. i'm so sorry for your loss. i wish there were some sort of awe inspiring words i could leave you. just know there are many people sending warm thoughts your way.

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  20. What a heartfelt, beautiful tribute to your dear Nanny.

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  21. What a heartfelt, beautiful tribute to your dear Nanny.

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  22. I'm so very sorry, Danielle! I am in awe of your writing voice. What a gift to be able to honor your Nanny in this way. Praying you find peace and comfort from somewhere in the coming days.

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  23. danielle, i'm so sorry for your loss. what an awful week you've had.

    how much do you look like henry in the first picture of you and your grandma!?

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  24. I am so sorry for your losses lately. What a hard week.

    You mentioned on twitter that it's uncomfortable for you to talk about religion on your blog, but I am always glad when you do. It is reassuring to hear other (more articulate) people put into words what I feel. Pretty much all of my friends are religious, so it can be hard sometimes to feel understood.

    I think my husband put it best when he said he doesn't believe- he hopes. Here's hoping you will see your Nanny again!

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  25. So sorry for your loss Danielle, she sounded an awesome lady and while its so heartbreakingly sad that you will miss her at family times and events, I'm sure you will all remember her and bring your memories of her alive through laughter and tears xx

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  26. I'm so sorry for your loss, Dani. <3

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  27. Sending you my love and my deepest condolences for so much loss surrounding you right now. You are a beautiful soul and a strong women and you will come through this much more knowledgeable of life and death. Time will heal any pain you feel. Hold tight to the family and friends that are surrounding you with love and light!

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  28. What a week you've had! :( I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved nanny, Dani.

    It sounds like my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) align exactly with yours. I don't believe in a god or heaven, but I always talk about the same "energy" or whatever that you wrote of. I think that not believing in an afterlife makes it that much harder to say goodbye to loved ones. So many people try to comfort a loss by saying, "Well, you'll see them again in heaven one day!" That's a lovely thought, but when you don't believe in that, their passing feels just that much more permanent. But you are right: Your nanny's spirit and essence will live on through your cherished memories. It's clear that she knew just how loved she was, and it sounds like she had a beautiful, full life. Cheers to that! She sounds like a great woman and you were lucky to have had her in your life, and have such a close relationship with her, for so long!

    Thinking of you and your family, Danielle. Goodbyes are never easy, but I hope your countless memories bring you comfort during this time.

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  29. I'm sorry for your loss. I know what you mean about how she was a shell of her former self. I remember the last time I saw my grandmama before she died from ovarian cancer. She couldn't even speak anymore. It's so hard to see them like that, but at least she's not suffering anymore. I also agree that it would be so much easier sometimes to be super religious and have someone to pray to, but I'm not.

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  30. so much heartache for you right now...so sorry to hear and sending you lots of love.

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  31. awww Dani- so sorry for your Nanny's passing. sending lots of hugs

    xx
    trisha
    veranellies.blogspot.com

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  32. I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.

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  33. You have her smile. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  34. I'm sorry about your loss. I haven't lost a Nanny so far and I hope I never will have to let one of them go - stupid thought, I know.

    I'm sure your grandma is in a place where she can be more than just a shell of her former self now.

    You look a lot like her! And: In that first picture, I can absolutely see Henry in your cute little face.

    Lots of love

    Maria

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  35. I'm so sorry for your loss!
    I've been reading your blog for quite a while (from Munich/Germany) but never commented.
    Your entry today rang a bell when you said how strange it is to watch your grandmother die while your second son is growing inside you.
    18 years ago my cousin had her first son on the evening of our grandfather's funeral. Even though I also have trouble with believing in a higher power, I am sure that there is a reason behind things like this. I was really sad to lose my grandpa but sooo happy to witness this huge happiness on the same day. It made it so much easier for our family to deal with the loss. I see it as a kind of 'changing of the guards' and am sure that there is reason behind it!

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  36. Danielle, you've been in my thoughts. I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandmother and friend. xo

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  37. So sorry for your loss. It' s SO awful hard to lose our beloved grandparents.....I went through this as well, and my last living Gma is on her way out. It's so hard, but I'm so glad you have such cherished memories!! Hugs and prayers to you!

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  38. I just lost my grandma in November. She was one of my best friends and I miss her so so much.

    It's so hard. And I'm so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and your family.

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  39. Danielle, I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts. Reading your post, she sounds like she was an incredible person.

    2 years ago this month I lost my older sister unexpectedly. She got in a motorcycle accident which caused significant damage to her brain. I've never been through something more heartbreaking, but knowing her and losing her also changed me forever. After we lost her, I sat at the table on her back porch in the chair she usually sat in and our family talked about the memories we had of her and who she was. I looked down and saw a strand of her hair. It was odd to see this piece of her that had been left behind and I learned then that nothing and no one is ever truly gone. I don't believe in God or an afterlife at least not the commonly accepted understanding, but sitting there I thought about how every breath we breathe is recycled. Everything that makes us up in energy, ideas, memories and even physically becomes something else. In that moment I really felt the beauty of having known her and I thought about every memory I had of her and all the pieces of her that would live on in me, everyone else she impacted and all around us. When I miss her the most I take a deep breath and remember that she'll always be here in some form or another.

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  40. I am so, so sorry for your loss. My nonno passed last April and my Grandma last September.

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  41. I am so sorry for your losses. The weight of the world seems awfully heavy right now. I am certain that Andrew & your Nana are together and probably hanging out close by...and who knows...perhaps they will come back again. Just in another form; in another way.

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  42. I am so sorry for your loss. Death is never easy for those that are left behind..

    x Natalie

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  43. I'm so sorry for your loss. Christine xox

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  44. Don't focus on her last few days, focus on the wonderful impact she had on your life and her loving self. I lost my Great Grandma and my Grandpa this year...it is very hard. We all go through it, might as well go through it together. I'm praying for your family during this time. Even though your baby to be didn't get to meet her, you will still see lots of your Grandma in your child.

    Amanda Rose
    http://sewmuchtosay.blogspot.com

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  45. Beautiful post. So sorry for your loss.

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