The past two months have been filled with remembrances of life, thankfulness for those who are in mine, and the loss of loved ones. Monday was no different. At 8 a.m. I received a phone call from my father that began with, “I have some bad news, sweetheart.” Obviously, nothing good can or will ever follow a sentence like that–especially one delivered via phone call that wakes you up before your alarm.
My Nanna passed away.
I wish words could truly describe the abnormality of that reality. I wish I could truly express how confusing and unreal (not to be confused with “surreal”) it feels. Apparently my Nanna had aggressive stomach and lung cancer. I say “apparently” because I didn’t know. She didn’t tell me. And whatever her reason, I beg that no one do that to someone else–take heed and always let the ones in your life know what’s going on. They deserve to know. I wouldn’t be here constantly replaying the conversation in my head over and over again, unable to escape it, if I had known. I would have maybe known this could happen; I would have maybe been able to cope.
Instead I just feel lost and confused, as if I’m going to get a phone call from her any minute that says my aunt was horribly mistaken and gave my father the wrong information. I want to feel angry, but I just feel defeated.
My whole life, she was my Nanna, and I was her Lovebug. For years, she was in my life every other day, every weekend, every holiday, every random event in my life. And while our relationship, due to distance and time, hadn’t been the same as it was in recent years, she was always the glue on my mom’s side of the family that made me feel like I was home. I can’t imagine a world where I don’t hear her laugh anymore, or I don’t hear her call me a “brat” when I say something sassy. I can’t imagine not calling her on New Year’s to wish her happy birthday. There’s a box still in Georgia that holds my stuffed animal–a bunny named Sunflower that Nanna bought me when I was 3-years-old. I remember the day she bought her. I remember all the years following that I never let that bunny go. I remember the sacrifices that she made for me growing up so I could have something as stupid but wonderful as a stuffed bunny named Sunflower.
I talked to Nanna on the phone two weeks ago; she seemed fine, albeit tired as I woke her up during a nap. And she didn’t say anything. And I don’t know how to take that, still.
Death is this strange, strange thing. It’s not tangible, it’s not conclusive. It just is this abstract concept that we must accept. It’s this thing that says, “The person you knew no longer exists.” Even if you’re staring at the body in the coffin, it’s not something that can be grasped. For me, this death is just raw.
Through everything we’ve been through–the good and especially the bad–I just hope my Nanna knew how much I loved her. And I always will. I’d give anything to hear her say, “Your Nanna loves you,” again.