My grandmother (my Na) passed away early last Tuesday morning; I first heard the news at around 5:45 am that day, 15 minutes before I was supposed to teach my first class of the day.
And while I heard my mom’s words over the phone, I was too stunned to say much. Too overwhelmed to think clearly or even believe it could be true. I hadn’t had much time to think or process what had happened and just went along with my morning. I saw myself trying to avoid people’s eyes, questions and even hugs, mainly for fear that I would start crying. All I wanted to do was get through the important stuff. The things that had to be done. And then go home and snuggle with Abbie and cry in peace.
I still have moments where I don’t believe that she is really gone. It’s hard to believe that I can’t ever pick up the phone and call her again. That I’ll never again hear her say, “my rosebud…” or tell me that I’m her, “little brown berry.” It’s hard to imagine that I won’t get to laugh when she’s calling me the dickens, or asking me when I am going to have a baby, or even when I’m watching her play a creative (ahem…) game of cards.
I was and always will be very close to my Na; we had a special bond, that was in part due to the fact that I had been fortunate enough to live with my grandparents (and my mom and brother) when I was a kid.
On Wednesday morning while still trying to figure out what we were going to do, the news had really started to sink in. We hastily made arrangements with work, family and friends and I found subs for all of my classes, and then packed our things, rented a car and started our drive out to Amarillo, Texas to be with family and celebrate and honor Na’s life.
It was a long drive, over 50 hours total of driving, with each leg (25 hours) completed in just two and half days. Casey, Abbie and I drove out together stopping first in Boise, then Colorado and finally Amarillo. While the drive was long, it felt right.
We were honoring Na’s love of travel and celebrating her life with adventure, movement and love – the things she taught us to never take for granted. We spent Friday-Sunday in Amarillo and were surrounded by friends and family who had come from near and far to honor my Na’s life. The services were beautiful, an absolutely perfect way to celebrate such an amazing and wonderful woman – complete with a full police escort – good job, Texas. After the services we laughed, we cried and we shared our memories. And then we just came together. As we always do. As she would have wanted. We played games, took walks, drank wine and ate queso.
My tribute to Na:
Na, where are you?
The first question I ever asked…my first words, actually.
I watched your every move. Even followed you to the bathroom. 😂 Talking. Literally always talking your ear off. And you were always patient and attentive. Well, most of the time, anyway.
I remember we’d always go together to get your nails done; you would bring me along so that you could drive in the carpool lane. I’d sit and color (and also talk a lot) while watching you get your nails filed, painted and in that perfect rosy pink color you always kept them. On the way home, we’d always stop and have lunch at your favorite place in Orange County – and we’d order our favorite Monte Cristo sandwiches. It always made me feel so special. So glamorous. So like you.
Your love, your patience, your grace was never lost on me.
You are a role model, an inspiration and I am forever grateful that you have taught me to be the woman I am today.
I love that when I would tell you about my races or you’d see my yoga poses on Facebook, you’d say things like, “ooohhh that sounds like too much…” Or, “you’re crazy…” Or you’d call me to tell me that someday you were going to backbend like that too. And while you’d call me crazy, I knew you really meant tough..and I would think I got this from YOU.
You shared so much with me; from your grace, toughness, patience, compassion, and kindness to your love for travel, cheese, good bread, good books, playing cards, Scrabble and shopping…😂
Despite all of your limitations and challenges, you were always the most grateful and positive person. Your grace, positivity and zest for life taught me to live my life to the fullest. To never take anything for granted. No matter what.
Na, where are you?
I know the answer now. You’re watching over all of us. Protecting us. Loving us.
I love you,
Your one and only Rosebud
After our weekend in Amarillo, I spent another two and half days on the road – traveling from Amarillo to Santa Fe and Santa Fe to Salt Lake City with my brother and Abbie dog – and then Salt Lake City back to Portland by myself (and of course my Abbie dog). While traveling back from Texas, I spent plenty of time outside. Enjoyed movement. Food. The culture in each new place. Made a point to sample local chocolates, cheeses, and fancy sandwiches. And even neglected some of the work I needed to do. I celebrated my Na by living my life to the fullest, by being present and grateful for whatever life was going to throw at me next.
Stay sweaty (and grateful) friends!