I’m back doing a post this week! As always, For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! (now a reality show star, which is cool).
So here’s the deal, if you don’t follow me on twitter (what?) or didn’t hear from someone else (oops)… my nana, my paternal grandmother, passed away a week ago today. Yeah. I can’t believe it’s been a week already, actually. And while on one hand I can’t believe I’m writing, I’m actually going to use this space to walk through the past week. If you stay for the end.. there’s a surprise. Or multiple surprises?
Before I start, let me just say that while it’s been a tough week… I don’t know how I would have made it through the first day without faith. Hoo boy. I realize that some people are able to do that. I, as has been learned, am not one of them. The readings at the funeral Mass made me tear up. I sang Amazing Grace with my sister as we did the presentation of the gifts… while choking back tears. It is only because I believe in the resurrection and the life to come that I’m able to process this. Also, while you’re hear reading this, would you mind saying a prayer with me?
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
I was one of the first to hear the news from my mom… and we then proceeded to have a sob-choke-laugh-cry-fest for a few minutes over a poor cell phone connection. It was almost accidental that I found out so soon, though. I wanted to talk to my mom about the fight I’m STILL having with the drug company about getting my drugs, so I asked her if she was home (via text). About an hour later she texts me, “are you home” and I was (in my pajamas at the kitchen table, even though it was around noon) so I said “yep” and she texted “can you call me” so I did. And that’s how I found out. I think I was the first kid notified. She felt kinda bad…
because less than two hours later I was scheduled to take this pretty important exam. It has to do with my teaching certification. I found out I was taking the exam less than twenty-four hours before I would have to take the exam and so I was attempting to cram 30+ hours of study material into my head in about 6 total hours of skimming. So Mom was apologetic, “I know you have to take an exam, I’m so sorry!” After we hung up, and I sadly relayed the news to the boyfriend via gchat (I’m efficient), I continued to try to learn about illicit drug use, gang violence, highway safety, child kidnapping prevention strategies, and the like, all while in an off-on cry-laugh-choke-cry-laugh-choke thing.
I had to go to our campus in the downtown area to take the test. I left way early, which is good, since it took me 20 minutes searching just to decide I’d park in the (overly expensive) parking garage and hoof it to the building in the rain. We had to take the exams on laptop computers. Mine had an expected battery life of 48 minutes when I got it. We were allowed to take the test a second time if we failed, but only a max of two times in the day. (My battery wasn’t gonna survive two exams anyway). So I opened the exam, refrained from screaming at the annoying undergrads in the room, and buckled down. Some of the questions were easy. (“Street names for ecstasy”? NAILED IT.) while others were really complicated – meaning, I had to read them five times before I even knew the objective. I knew I had to get 40 out of 50 questions right, so I could easily be screwed if the questions were from sections I
mostly ignored because they seemed stupid skimmed. But… in less than 20 minutes, I pressed submit, and I scored a 44 out of 50 for an easy passing grade.
I left the room, sent my mom a ‘victory’ text and said I thought my new intercessor was doing a dang good job.
And then I walked back to the parking garage in the rain, and proceeded to sit and cry in my car for 15 minutes while talking-sobbing to the boyfriend. Fresh wounds.
At which point I went home, moped on the internet, and then went to Mass – the vigil for the Immaculate Conception. I cried at multiple points. After, I went home immediately, threw a bunch of stuff in a bag, and told my sister I was coming over. She told me there would be wine. It was a plan.
So we drank white wine from a (classy) box, ate cherry cordials (Russell Stover, of course, in honor of Nana), and talked about Nan and how we were going to miss her. And how much it all sucked. But how we were fortunate to have her as long as we did. And then as the wine made us a little loopy we just started loudly talking about life, and then we felt a bit better.
I drove home to Ohio from NY on Saturday morning. I wasn’t expecting to be home so soon, but you do what you have to – especially when all your obligations in your state of residence have been fulfilled. Group grieving happened. It involves food, wine, conversation, and board games. My brother-in-law taught us all how to play Bang!, which is complicated enough to make you forget why you’re all gathered in the same place over a random non-holiday weekend.
I helped my mom make a photo collection to upload onto the digital photo frame, to display at the viewing. We found some pretty awesome old photos of Nana in the process. We’re still finding more photos as we sort through the things in her apartment – like the small wallet-sized snapshot I found of her today. It’s the exact photo that my Pop carried in his wallet his whole life. My nana is laying out – it looks like at the beach – in her (very modest) 1940’s white bathing suit.
Nana was pure class. Whether it was pearls, chiffon neck scarfs – we have since discovered she owned dozens – a massive milk fur coat (which I fully intend to rock…somewhere), or the classic black cardigan, she was truly one of the most generous, caring individuals I’ve been blessed to know. The number of people who spoke to us this weekend saying things like, “it was impossible not to love her”, “she was so friendly to everyone”… it was amazing. She touched a lot of hearts. Most certainly including mine.
And now, photos. You were waiting for this, right?