March 23, 2001, a date that will be etched in my brain forever. See that beautiful lady up there? (Excuse the poor quality of picture… I don’t have a scanner, so I’m reduced to taking a picture of a picture) That’s my Nanny. You could call her Nanny or Helen, whatever. She wouldn’t have minded.
My Nanny, or as it would be pronounced when I was younger my “Naaaaaaaaaanny” was my biggest supporter and easily one of my most favourite people in this world. I was the only human-variety grandchild (my aunt had two beautiful cats!) and I idolized that woman. Sadly for me, she left far too early for my liking when she was 65 years old, and today marks 11 years. I find that so hard to believe since I was in my 2nd year of university when she passed and now people consider me an adult. Hell, I have two tiny humans calling me mommy. I try not to dwell too much. To wonder if she would be proud of me, if we would still be joking like we always did. Instead of dwelling, I look to remember the stories I have of her.
Growing up, being a military family, we moved. Not as often as some families, but often enough. My grandmother always remained constant, calling on Sunday evenings, even when the time difference was 4 hours. We traveled to visit since she was afraid of planes and boats, living on the opposite side of the country and then an island, we made it tough for her to come to visit us. Two summers, I got to spend with my grandmother before moving to Nova Scotia shortly after I turned 13. Those 2 summers, the first wasn’t long enough and the second wasn’t either, although I was highly unimpressed to call home and find that my parents weren’t home, I felt I was missing out on the fun there. My grandmother and aunt kept me busy and entertained those 2 summers and those 2 women (and my aunt remains today) to be some of the most amazing people I know. Who else gets snuck into a bingo hall at 12 with their grandmother? I’m sure it wasn’t “illegal” but, since 12 year olds shouldn’t be gambling, my grandmother warned if I won, she would call. Then split the money. We never won.
My grandmother was rather ill before she passed. Developed blood clots in her leg and ended up having a below knee amputation. Needless to say, she got the happy juice via IV to keep her comfortable. About a week before she passed away, I made the executive decision to travel from Wolfville to Halifax (about 45 minutes) and just go visit my Nanny. And I’m so glad that I did. There was a man in the hallway, obviously working on rehab. I looked at my Nanny and said “Nanny! There’s a cute guy out there! and he still has 2 legs! He could take you dancing!” Evidently, this is when the happy juice kicked in and she told me to “Fuck off, Cheryl. I’m not going dancing. And I’m definitely not going dancing with a man”! She had been single for as long as I was around (although there were some perspectives, I’ll have to ask my aunt about them!) I do wonder though if I told her I loved her, or if she knew. I crawled into bed with her and cuddled for a few minutes before leaving with my mom. Not knowing that it would be the last time. I do remember kissing her cheek, so I really hope I whispered I loved her.
Nanny, I hope wherever you are (she would often joke she wasn’t going to heaven because she would be lonely…. all her friends would be in a warmer climate) I hope I have made you proud. Know that there are 2 little girls who hear about you constantly. They would have adored to sit with you and listen to whatever you were talking about. Or we could teach them Rita MacNeil songs together, it’s ok you couldn’t sing. I miss you and I hope you know that I love you and still do.