My husband took my mom’s call at 6:30 a.m. Central Time last Tuesday morning. My grandmother had passed in her sleep at the age of 99. The grieving that had started when Nanny fell and broke her hip and arm in 2008 was about to take a new expression. Mom and her sister had provided around-the-clock elder care for nearly seven years as Nanny recovered from surgeries, urinary tract infections, heart congestion, a blood clot, and other things that could easily have taken her life. As dementia set in, my Nanny didn’t even know me when I was there for her 99th birthday party last July.
It took me six hours to arrive, but Mom kept the body at home after Nanny had taken her last breath. My Christian mother observed my strange shaman ways as I drummed, sang in light language, and gave her mother her last rites to clear her chakras and detach any threads still attached to the body; there were none. Nanny was so ready to go. She had been begging Jesus and the angels for nearly a year to come and take her home. It was a blessed relief to know that she was no longer suffering and had been reunited with her loved ones on the other side.
There was abundant grace for me and my cousin as we sang at the funeral several of Nanny’s favorite songs that we had learned in church and heard her sing in the kitchen when we were kids. The whole family sang along with us. I’ve had “In the Sweet By and By” and “Oh, How I Love Jesus” stuck in my head for a week now.
I forgot how good it felt to play the piano–it had been years since I was a church pianist–and it brought up memories from when I raised my kids in church. When I got home after spending a week with my parents and helping with the arrangements, I had a sadness that I had not felt the entire time I was in the home where my grandmother lived for seventeen years. I slept in the room where she had died; I felt close to her there. It took me two days to realize I was grieving the fact that my children were no longer little. Yes, I knew that already. They are both in their thirties, but it hit home that things would never be the same as they were when we were young and Nanny tended to my kids while I taught piano.
I finally got to meet Reverend Hicks, the chaplain who had been by to visit with my grandmother every month for the five years that she had been in palliative care. He did a great job on the eulogy. Her hospice doctor, who made monthly house calls, was at the funeral. Everyone loved Nanny. She and Pap were married for 53 years before his death in 1988. Their five children produced my generation, making a total of 12 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren, and 20 great-great-grandchildren.
She was like a second mother to me, my brother, and our two cousins as she tended to us after school and all during our summer breaks from school. That’s how we got our education in gardening, canning and freezing vegetables, cooking, and doing laundry and other household tasks. It’s also how we learned to work out our differences. Nanny paid little attention to our fussing when the boys found out that their G.I. Joe’s were kissing our Barbie dolls under the dining room table. She let us work things out on our own.
Nanny was a great example of love in action. I am the person I am today because of her example of kindness and unconditional love. Rest in peace, my dearly beloved Nanny. I will always love you! Here’s a song I created in light language using the loving frequencies you gave me the night before you left this human realm.