March 25, the morning she passed, I woke at 5:00 am knowing that I would be receiving a phone call that morning. At 7 am my father called to let me know she had gone.
When Aaron arrived home from work we began the task of planning our departure for Birmingham, a 680 mile journey from where we currently live. I packed bags, called pet & house sitters, I called off work, and made sure that neighbors kept an eye on the house. I baked a batch of Nana's tea biscuits for Dad.
Aaron drove the whole way down while the kids & I slept in the car. We arrived in Birmingham at 6:30 AM and ate breakfast.
We arrived at Nana's house at 7AM where my parents & brother were staying. The next 3 days were filled with family and mourning and laughter. My kids got to meet their cousins for the first time. We filled Nana's house with the things she loved most: family and friends.
I think it was a fitting tribute to a woman who listed "parties" at the top of her "Things I like" list. Now I am still coming to terms with the Nana-shaped hole in my universe. She was a puzzle that I don't think I will ever entirely understand--and that is what makes me saddest above all.
We visited in 2002, and she said something to me that I have written down, repeated, and carried with me:
Never forget who you are.
Never forget that you are loved.
Thank you, Nana.