Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Goodbye Nani

A week ago today, Wednesday February 18th my amazing Nani passed away. Even as I type it I can't believe it, if you have been reading this blog for any stretch of time you know just how much I loved my Nani. I posted about it  on facebook and instagram and I was humbled by the support-some people may say the whole "internet friends" thing is odd but it was another example (of many) of how much support you can receive from this little corner of the internet. Thank you all so very much.

Today we celebrated her life and how incredibly lucky we were to have her as ours for as long as we did. I spoke for her today, to literally, "say my peace", to say goodbye. I've pasted it below.

Good morning everyone.
This is going to be very difficult for so many reasons. One reason being I don't know if there are enough words to do my nani justice. she was a foundation, an institution in my life and I'm sure in many of yours-  Not only was she my nani, she was my papa's wife a role that she relished even after fifty two years. For her nothing was more important than family. I know her proudest moments revolved around watching the family grow from two to four to nine to fourteen and with the most recent addition bringing that to 15 and making her a great grandmother.

she had  a no non-sense common sense and connection to her community that is hard to find nowadays and I am so thankful to have witnessed it.
Another reason this is difficult is that a big part of me doesn't believe that Nani is actually gone-she was so tough, walking around barefoot in the street, washing dishes in scalding hot water without dish gloves, I know it seems ridiculous to say but she always gave me the feeling that she was invincible. Whenever my life became difficult or confusing I would turn to her. no matter how tough life would get-my nani was tougher.

 But she had a sweet, tender side as well that moved as many mountains as her toughness.  I remember taking her for her first pedicure and manicure at the age of 65-I have to admit that I was a bit nervous because I had initially thought that she would think it was un-necessary and overpriced-and if she ever felt that was the case you were in for it. but as soon as she put her little feet in the hot soapy water the sweetest smile spread across her face-I was shocked and excited for her to enjoy it. Then it came time to pick our colors and again I was surprised as she held up a bottle of purple sparkle nail polish and said "whatdya think sass?" And every time after we went to get our nails done she would seek out the sparkliest color possible.  She lived and loved as loud as the nail polish she wore.

My grandparent's house was always a safe haven for me,so when I was having trouble studying at my house-as is to be expected with twin brothers- I would walk across the street and sit in the quiet and study for hours. Only to be inturrupted by a gentle knock on the door and then nani would peak her face in and say "Sass you hungry? You need to eat to help you learn" It didn't matter what my answer to her was because she would walk through the door and she would already have a papertowel with sourdough toast in one hand and a mug of warm apple cider in the other. nani knew how to do comfort food better than anyone and it would always do the trick. For the longest time I thought that the apple cider was a secret recipe of hers, but as it turns out it was those packets that you get in a box at the store but somehow doesn't taste the same when I try to make it.

I have so many gems of advice that I have to hold on to thanks to nani. I would share them with you today but due to her colorful language it somehow doesn't seem appropriate to do so. But I do have a couple that I can share with you. As I mentioned before my nani was one of the most frugal people I have ever met and nothing made her more upset than waste. She was an original environmentalist. When I was little and attempted to throw....anything away she would be over my shoulder with a quickness and say in a tone that you might hear in a dark alley by a mugger, "Sarah.You. don't. waste." I knew it was serious because she used my name and not the nickname of "Sassy" that she had given me. The way she delivered this message was akin to a mother dog grabbing her pup on the neck-it said I love you but don't you dare. she always encouraged me to Donate, share , repurpose-whatever it may be but don't waste it.

I would often run errands with her during the day when i was a little girl and without fail I would find some cheap plastic toy that I really wanted and she would say "not today" she would say this so often that I often wondered in my little mind...well when then? because it was never today And inevitibly she would follow that up with "you always be thankful for what you have"
Gratitude is a difficult lesson for a child to understand but now I return to that lesson almost daily-gratitude is powerful because what you have is always enough and I have her to thank for that.

My nani was so giving and thoughtful but also very honest without hesitation.
I'm not sure if you heard this past christmas of the grandma that had her homemade slippers stolen right from under her tree.
 She said "I would love to send her my slippers so she can have them to give to her family on christmas", so thoughtful right? well she followed it up with  "and my design is a little nicer because mine have a cuff at the ankle and her's dont so maybe going forward she can improve her design."

And to be honest with you all, those slippers were one of the first things I thought of when I had heard that she had passed away. Out of curiosity, how many of you have received a pair of these slippers at one point or another?
And in effort to continue that legacy my family and I have brought what remains of her slippers and after the service I invite you to come grab a pair for yourself or for someone you think would enjoy them because it gave her so much joy.

My last phone call with her was the Thursday before she passed away. She was telling me how she had called one of her neighbors that had moved out of state to see how she was doing. She was catching this former neighbor up on what all of her grandchildren were up to, buying houses, having babies, getting married, getting promoted, starting businesses. It was in this conversation that she told me that sometimes it is hard for her to understand that the children she has watched grow are now adults. She said that regardless of what we do or how we grow she always sees the child she knew in the adults we have become. And I think that is why being around her was always so special to me because no matter how complicated adult life could get she had the ability to remind you of the good, sweet child that she still saw in you.  And in her own mind she was still in touch with a very young part of herself as well. One time about a year ago we were out to lunch and we saw an older man crossing the street slowly, cane in hand and she let out a big sigh and said "man I hope I never get old, that looks hard" and we both paused and then looked at one another and just started laughing for obvious reasons.

The past few days I have been looking for guidance for how to move forward, how to soothe the ache that her passing has left me with, how to find a presence in her absence and I came across a quote that basically says that death is not the end of a relationship but a new beginning. And this thought has been keeping me going because the thought of a life without her is painful beyond description.
 I understand that eventually we will all start to feel a bit better which is comforting but it also scares me because that means there will be a time where things will be back to normal but she will no longer be part of my normal.

  I will once again take my Nani's advice and I won't waste this moment to thank each and every one of you for adding light and love to her life, that means if you were her family, a friend that joined her on her bus trip, or someone that was important to her family members -I need you to know that regardless of how or for how long you knew her-she valued her relationship and interactions with you, the stories, the time you gave her, the love you gave her family it made her happier than you know and I can never thank you enough for that. And again to keep in line with her advice "always be thankful for what you have" we may not have her here physically anymore but we have our memories, advice and stories and I encourage you all to find the joy and love that her memory brings you instead of leaning in to the should have/could haves of grief-because that is not what she was about-you miss her because you loved her and she loved you. SHe was about making people happy and loved. Whether that meant keeping your feet warm with her slippers, planning a monthly bus trip to reno, keeping you fed with her food or supplying you with something that you didn't even know you needed. SHe loved caring for you and she felt loved because of the care you gave her. She was about love and connection with others and that is how we can honor her legacy. Spread that love in her name, keep her spirit alive by giving to others.

So I will finally take this moment to say goodbye to my Nani. And as I do I can't help but picture her standing at the door of her home with my papa. She would have her right hand up on the door jamb, framing papa's face, her toes curled over the door frame like a little girl and and her left hand flapping in the air-most likely with a dish towel or tissue in her hand and she would say "we'll see ya later, love yas" goodbye nani, we'll see ya later I love ya.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Books of January

As you may or may not remember, I have a goal of reading 52 books this year. I have quietly had this goal for years and have fallen quite short many years in a row. This year I decided to share the goal on facebook, instagram and on the good ole blog as a means of keeping me accountable. Well January is here and gone and so far I am meeting my goal! Here are the books I have read thus far.
I really enjoyed this book, it takes you past the good ole Rosie the Riveter and told a story of women with various other jobs in order to help the war effort. There were many fascinating facts and behind the scenes stories that made this book enjoyable.
Oh Maya Angelou how I love thee. This book was sometimes heartbreaking but it was always inspiring. What a life she lived and what lessons she was able to glean from her experiences.
This book was a fun read-multiple point of views and connections to the main character. I love stories that follow a family through many years and this book did just that.
This book was a very interesting read-it covers a near death experience of a neurosurgeon. He did a wonderful job at representing the ethereal and scientific fact. Really an interesting read.

And of course I started the year off with can't go wrong with Oprah. It is a real feel good read.

What have you been reading this year?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Photos From October...3 Months Later!

I was scrolling through my posts and it seems as though this one has slipped through the cracks. So uh here are some photos from a couple months ago.


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