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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Nan, Three Years Later

I posted these images on Wesley Bear's Facebook last night:

On Nan's obituary it says she died on January 26, 2013 - I still think of her dying on January 25, 2013 because she died overnight when my parents were sleeping. Mom called me at 4 AM to tell me the news that Nan had passed. I went to Christine's for the night after spending the day in the city. I didn't want to watch Nan die, I wanted to remember her in a good light - actually, I was just really upset. One friend at the time criticized me and called me cold hearted for not watching her die. I don't know. Before I went to Christine's, I hugged her goodbye, gave her a long kiss, and we just hugged for 15 minutes. She was so out of it from the ativan and all of the other medications home hospice gave her for her final hours. I don't want to say anymore about that.

Over the years, what my old friend told me lingered with me. Was I horrible person for not staying for the whole thing? Was I a horrible person for only saying goodbye and spending the final days with her only? I guess one really can't think of what outsiders say because we all handle things differently. I was close to Nan and I am thankful I had her in my life for 23.5 years.

The pictures I posted on Wesley's Facebook I stole from my personal Facebook when I re-activated it for a few days after my phone crashed. After I deactivated again, I thought I should have saved all of the pictures I had. I did an indefinite de-activation, but hopefully I can log on again to just save old pictures and re-deactivate it. I have a lot of pictures of Nan with siblings, that have long passed, and I just went every old picture. I am going to include some of those memories in my book and I am adding pictures with my poetry. Here are some poems for my book in memory of Nan and other family members on Dad's side:

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday

In celebration of what would have been nan's 91st birthday on May 4, 2014. I miss her terribly: every birthday she'd make her famous strawberry shortcake.

Today I need your fluffy icing, vanilla sweet
with tart strawberries circling the top;
the extras and sugary, red water a treat!
Today I need your fluffy icing, vanilla sweet
because as we sing, our lungs and voices beat;
I miss those candles and the radio blaring doo-wop.
Today I need your fluffy icing, vanilla sweet,
the tartness of strawberry, circling on grieving's top!

A Taste of Summer

Traipse to the red deck;
out of the coolness of the house
into the arms of humidity
and the melancholy of the sun
retreating, fleeing behind the trees.

On the red deck, the paint peels
and leaves black and red dust
on the heels of my pale feet.
In your hands, your old china
that was given to you on your wedding;
slices of watermelon, your favorite,
and the salt to accompany it.

On the red deck, the juices drip
with salty-sweet goodness
and the pinkness stains my white nightgown.
You laugh at me, I'm always a mess.
Yet you smile, a rare glimpse
into happiness, safe from chaos.
Fireflies fly around us,
yet we're too busy yapping to care--
this is a world I never want to leave.

Traipse back into the house,
the clock strikes 10;
it is time to lock up
and with salty and sticky kisses
the dusk a very good night.
And as it falls on us,
we hug tight. 

Written: August 7, 2013
Aunt Millie's Sewing
Jessica Marie

"Please hand me the needle and thread;
I'll show you how to make a simple knot,"
as she picked up pretty fabric; she said,
"Please hand me the needle and thread."
Weaving, arms thrust; she turns her head--
she is patient while teaching an itty bitty tot;
"please hand me the needle and thread,
I'll show you how to make a simple knot!"


  1. No, you are not a horrible person. We all protect ourselves, our emotional welfare, in such difficult situations, and that is exactly what you did. Your Nan would be proud of you for taking care of yourself. Your watching her wouldn't bring her back, but it might have ended up becoming a repetitious nightmare for you. Instead, you are now remembering her as she was in her best times.

    1. Hi Joy,

      That's true. I was very close to Nan and I wanted to remember her how she was,not what lung cancer did to her in her final days. In her final days, she couldn't breathe. I think she realized it was her time; she was in and out of consciousness for 2 days. The night before she died, I stayed by her side. I fell asleep, but kept waking up to check on her - I was praying that she wouldn't die because I know I couldn't handle that. Before my aunt put their dog down, I watched her a lot and had similar feelings. I don't do well watching someone die.

      Before I left that day, I asked her if she was okay with me going. She was conscious at that point or I should say, not drugged out of her mind, and she said I should enjoy myself and enjoy my life. It was just really emotional - my parents said when I left that morning, Nan was at her best. She really deteriorated throughout the day. My parents didn't want me to see that either.

      I think over the weekend I am going to reactivate the Jessica Marie profile for a bit and save all of those old pictures, then re deactivate it. I want all of my old pictures back.

  2. Lovely post. No, you're not a horrible person for not staying for her death; people cope in different ways.

    1. Thanks, Andrew. I guess it's one of the many things to add to my collection of "things people shouldn't say to others in a time of loss and grief."


  3. Hi, dear Jessica!

    I know this is a sad anniversary for you, but I know that Nan wouldn't want you to feel worse by having pangs of guilt about the day of her death. Everyone handles dying, death and grief differently and we should all respect that.

    In three weeks I will be remembering my mother on the 21st anniversary of her death. Like Nan, my mother died shortly after midnight and we were awakened by a call from the hospital notifying us. It's not the kind of call you want to get at 1 am.

    My thoughts are with you, dear friend Jessica!

    1. Hi dear Shady,

      You're absolutely right. As I wrote to Joy, before I left I asked her if she was okay with me going. This was when she was still lucid - she told me to go and have a great time. I stayed with her the night before and spent time with her all of that week. I was very close to her, so I always spent a lot of time with her.

      ::hug:: I'm sorry about the loss of your mother. Anniversaries are never easy.

      Thank you, Shady; my thoughts are with you as well!