Saying Goodbye

by - Monday, January 25, 2016

Marie. I used to greatly dislike having that for a middle name. It felt so plain. Certainly not as exciting as Jade or as pretty as Rebecca. I remember my parents told me that I shouldn't say I didn't like my name because I was named after my Nana and that that was special. Still, it didn't quite click for me. That is, until we lost my Granny Light suddenly. I think that's the point where I started to really pay attention to who the woman I was named after really was.

When Granny Light died I had all of these emotions that didn't quite sit right. I felt as though I had taken her for granted. That I never really showed her how much she meant to me and that she thought I was embarrassed of her and where I came from. I never told her that when she helped me buy my first guitar that that was a turning point for me. That music became so much more. Or that the night my dad and I had our first knock down, drag out, fight ending with me leaving, that I didn't come to her because I had nowhere to go, but because it was the only place I wanted to be. It's hard to lose someone without getting to say goodbye. Without making sure they knew how much you loved them. That was the point at which I can honestly say that my relationship with my Nana changed. I couldn't bare to lose her without her knowing.

So I started to truly listen to the stories she told me. Stories of growing up and of hard hard times. Stories of fixing this or building that. Stories about working at Dan River and of Papa Charlie. I started helping her with all her crazy DIY projects, not because I wanted something out of it but because it was actually amazing fun to do things with her. And when I got married I suffered through all of the wildly inappropriate banter and stories, all the while blushing and giggling and wondering how many other grandmas were this cool. I listened to the wive's tales when I got pregnant and called her when Aria was sick and had no clue what to do.

It wasn't all hearts and roses. She could infuriate me and I did the same to her on occasion. I think that's how every important relationship goes. But she didn't hold a grudge against me and no matter how hard it might have been at times to go back after a fight, I did. And you never would have known it happened.

I have great memories of my Nana. Way too many to talk about, but so many have come flooding back to me over the past couple of weeks. Scary movie nights where we would watch and eat and make fun of the ridiculous plots and not-so-scary characters. She could crack me up and they never seemed scary with her around. Or the week we spent painting the outside of my mom's trailer. We worked and talked for hours about anything and everything. You could never hold my Nana down. She was always working and doing something. I've never known someone more independent than her or honestly a woman as strong. Anything she wanted to do, she went for it. If she saw it on HGTV and liked it, you better believe it'd be in her yard within a month. Go getters like her are few and far between.

So when she got sick and I was in Hawaii, it hurt to not be there. We came home summer of 2014 to be with her because I was scared it would be my last chance. God had far greater plans in store. She got to hold Aria, and spend time with her and love her. She got to see her grow. She got to enjoy her and spoil her. To me, that's been the greatest gift and greatest comfort. She got to know that Ariana was going to have a beautiful baby girl and that she was in good hands. I got to sit with her, and talk with her in the months leading up. I got to let her know I love her and she got to give me advice on mothering and cooking and setting up a new house. I got closure.

I don't think I could ever express in words what having her name means to me now or how stupid I feel for ever hating it. There's a part of her that will always be present with me. She's at peace. That is the greatest gift. Though I couldn't be there to hold her hand, I hope she felt me across the miles.

Nana, you will forever be a part of me. Thank you for teaching me what it means to be strong and independent. For trying to teach me to speak my mind and for always taking care of me. Aria will grow up hearing your name often and I know she has two Guardian Angels always watching over her.

I love you. Until we meet again.

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