Saying Goodbye to my Nana

When I went into the hospital to have Jack, my grandmother (Nana) was admitted into the same hospital a few days later. The doctors weren’t totally sure what was wrong with her, but thought it might be pneumonia. Even though I was at the hospital every day for almost a month to visit my son, I couldn’t go up and see her because I couldn’t risk bringing the germs back downstairs into the NICU.

Nana was released from the hospital into a nursing home for what was expected to be short term care before going back home. However, she still wasn’t doing very well. Jack was finally released from the NICU, so we loaded everyone up into my truck – my husband, mother, brother, me and Jack – and went to visit her at the nursing home.

I absolutely hate nursing homes.

Actually, that’s pretty much the understatement of the year. They are just terrible, awful, depressing places. The ones I’ve visited always have a sour smell to them and the majority of the people who work there seem like they totally hate their jobs.

Nana still was not doing well and it seemed like nobody even cared. My mother (who deserves a medal or a big shiny tiara for everything she’s done) kept on top of all the nurses and doctors to make sure that my grandmother was receiving the proper treatment.

When we went in to visit her, my Nana seemed to recognize us all but was barely able to speak due to coughing issues and a dry throat. We tried to anticipate her needs and questions and answer them for her. I teased her about ordering some male strippers to cheer her up and held Jack up for her to see. She had been looking forward to meeting her first great-grandchild and I’m happy that we were able to make that happen.

This is my Nana from my wedding in 2008

She passed away a couple days later.

Her funeral will be held this week and my mother has asked me to speak about my grandmother before the formal ceremony starts.

Of course, I told her I’d absolutely write something to say at the service. However as I prepare to write down my feelings about my grandmother I’m having the worst case of writers block.

How do you put into words the feelings you have for someone who has loved you your whole life? She was so many things to so many different people, but to me she was silly and caring and fun. One of my favorite things was to work something inappropriate into a typical conversation and see if she noticed. Without fail, she’d look at me and say “Ohhh Julie” with a little giggle.

At 86 years old, I didn’t expect her to live forever but that doesn’t mean I was prepared to lose her now.

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