It was ten years ago today since Nanny passed away. The sadness comes every year, but I never know when that deep sadness will come, you know, the sadness that makes you wish you could call up a lost loved one just to hear them one more time. It came for me last night. I fell asleep wishing I could at least dream about her so that she could feel close for just a little while. Instead she sent her sign this morning, when I woke up to a bell on my phone, at the exact same time that I got the call ten years ago that Nanny had died.
When I was about 8, Nanny and I were walking down our lane, and we promised each other that whoever died first, they would let the other one know that they were okay. Years went by and we never talked about that promise. And then I got sick, and had to have a bone marrow transplant. I made it home for Christmas, and on New Year's Eve me and Nanny had a long, long chat. And she asked me if I remembered our promise from years ago. She told me she was too scared to ask me before that, because she didn't want me to think that I was going to die. We didn't talk about our promise again for years. It wasn't until she was dying with cancer that we once again talked about the fact that we needed reassurance. I knew life would never be the same again without my Nanny, and I honestly worried about how I would cope. She was always the one who could help me get my priorities straight, who made me realize that I was worrying about silly things, and the one who loved me no matter what...I could be silly, self-centred, or whatever, and she was my constant. She loved unconditionally, and I could not imagine life without her.
I had left the hospital through the night of the 30th-31st, and when the phone rang early that morning, I knew before I answered it that she was gone. As I hung up, I looked out the window and the yard was full of birds, and she was always watching the birds. I took that as my first sign. And while others may not believe in heaven, or signs, or whatever, the signs that I have gotten over the years have been my way of coping with the loss of a wonderful woman from my life. I know I watch for signs, and I believe she sends them.
So while I always take stock on New Year's, it is a day that is full of memories of my Nanny, and this year, the ten year mark seems a little more sad. It feels like it was yesterday, and it seems like it was a lifetime ago. I miss her stories, I miss how she kept me connected with all my cousins, I miss her voice, I miss her cookies and rolls, I miss her great conversations, and I miss just her presence. We could just sit and not say a word and be comfortable.
Nanny was an incredible woman, who loved her family more than anything. She really was something else, and every year as I sit down to think about her, I make a little resolution that I will once again to try to be as good a mother as she was, and hope that I will someday be a Nanny who will be loved as much as she was. If you have a grandparent, give them a hug for me today, and I want to send special hugs to my Dad, and all my aunts and uncles. We were all lucky to have had Nanny in our lives, and she loved you all so much.