A Memorial Service for Nana

Some of you might have noticed that I haven’t posted in about a month now. It’s not that I’ve abandoned my blog or stopped going to Skiffy meetings. I’ve still been doing everything. Unfortunately about a month ago, though, my grandmother started to take a turn for the worse. She checked herself into a nursing home right before the big snows we had. I started writing her two letters a week then. And then in one week’s time she had a very serious decline. I didn’t know how serious it was until I came home for a lightening visit the last weekend of February. She passed away the next morning.

We had the memorial service yesterday morning. I’ll let you read what I wrote and then read at the service:

My grandmother was a very special person. She went by many different names. Patty, Pat, Patricia, Mom. My brother and I knew her as Nana.

I loved my Nana very much; I still love her, and I miss her. But today is not a day to remember what we’ve lost, it’s a day to celebrate what she gave to all of us.

My Nana was a very generous woman, and she gave my family many gifts. The first gift she gave was a strong, christian foundation. She gave this to her sons, and it was in turn passed on to my brother and me. Someday when I see her again I’ll say ‘Thank You’ for giving me the chance to see you and to be with you and my God forever.

The second gift my Nana shared with me was the gift of patience. I will be the first to admit that I am not by nature a patient person. I don’t like waiting and doing nothing. But my Nana taught me that this wasn’t really wasted time if you’re with the people you love. I had some of my most interesting conversations with her while waiting for the tea kettle to boil. Now I’m so glad I waited.

The third thing I think my Nana gave me was a gift of laughter. She was, without a doubt the most unintentionally hillarious comedian I’ve ever listened to. She had little ‘Nana-isms’ because you she’d get a little mixed up sometimes. You know she didn’t shop at ‘Food Lion’ like the rest of us. She shopped at ‘Lion King’. And she didn’t use the ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ spray, she used the ‘Thank God It’s Not Butter’ spray. And she laughed. She would laugh at those little mistakes. She laughed when things didn’t go quite as planned. A certain meatloaf incident comes to mind (you can read about that at the end). One thing I’m certain of, though, is that she knew how important laughter is. I am also certain that she would want you to laugh some today as you think and talk about her. Even if you’re crying as you laugh.

My Nana gave me one last gift. That was an example through her devotion. I’ve already mentioned her strong faith and devotion to God. She was also very devoted to her husband. She told me many times that she would only ever love one man, and I very much admire her for it. I also know that she missed him terribly. But you know, she doesn’t miss him anymore. She’s with her husband, and she’s with her God, and she couldn’t be happier.

So I just wanted to say thank you to Nana for everything she’s given to me. She gave me so much in the years we had together. The only way I know I could even hope to repay this massive debt is to share what she gave me with all of you. I’m sure that’s what she would like. And even though I can’t tell her in person, I would like to say “Thank you, Nana. This is only the beginning.”

**A note on the meatloaf incident.**
The parenthesis originally read “You can ask me about that later” when I read this at the service. So many people actually came up and asked me that I thought I’d just tell you all here rather than making you ask again and again.

As my grandmother got older, she became more and more concerned about germs getting into food. So, to make sure that all our food was extra safe, she’d leave it in longer than she probably should have. Combined with the ability to get easily distracted, sometimes our food was really dry. This particular time, however, she really out did herself. This was the last time she made meatloaf, and let me tell you, had she made more I think the world would have been in trouble. This particular meatloaf could have been used as construction material. Mom managed to saw off a couple little sticks of it which I proceeded to knaw on to try to make my Nana feel better about the ruined main course. I don’t remember exactly what happened with dinner that night, though I think mom might have made something quick. But yes, we’ve all been laughing at that one for years now.


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