Sunday, May 31

A Bushel and a Peck

On Wednesday afternoon my nana passed away.  This is a sentence that has crossed my mind many times since then, but this is the first time I have been able to write it.

It wasn't sudden, she had been in and out of the hospital since the winter, but it's still so difficult to accept as a reality. I am so lucky I was able to visit with her and that we were both able to express our love for one another... as we both silently understood what the inevitable would be.  In her nana voice, that I can still hear in my head, she would say, "Shannon... you are my baby" as she held my hand and closed her eyes. This is the same voice she would use to say, "I think about you everyday", whenever we spoke on the phone. I'm worried I won't always remember that sound...

I am...was... lucky enough to be one of her three grandchildren. I was her only granddaughter, and the youngest, which I think created a special bond between us. Not only that, but before my aunt adopted me, during the times my mother couldn't take care of me, it was my nana that I lived with.  My nana, who was supposed to be done raising children, would walk me to elementary school, cook me spinach and eggs, dance the polka in the living room, let me do her hair, play restaurant, make me practice spelling tests, and sing to me... the list could really go on and on.

Nana is clearly enjoying her hair being styled!
Yesterday, when I went to her house, the place I associate as my childhood home, I felt so much happiness.  As I went around the house collecting pictures and knick knacks I felt like I was back in time, like maybe my nana was in the pantry washing dishes.  I think my favorite part was that the smells of the house were the same.  As I peeked into the sun porch, the smell reminded me of going outside on a flower tour with nana, of jump roping, and of the butterfly bush, as this was the exit we used to go out and play in the backyard together.

The attic also had the same smell.  To this day I still have dreams that involve me walking up the stairs to that attic! That's where Nana kept all her old barbies and dolls. The attic still has equal parts comfort and mystery, as I wasn't always allowed to venture up there.
My favorite smell, however, was when I opened the drawer that had all of her pillow cases and sheets.  I remember helping Nana make the bed as she taught me songs like, "You Are My Sunshine". When I lived with Nana I didn't have my own room, so basically we had sleepovers every night. The smell of that drawer brought back the memories of the comfort and safety I felt under the sheets and blankets, that always felt freshly washed and cool on my bare feet... my nana close by to protect me from any nightmares I may have had. Looking at the bed yesterday, I laughed because it looked so small compared to my memories... Poor Nana had to deal with my all over sleeping patterns... I was known to do 180's in my sleep when I was a kid, and would end up at the foot of the bed, but she never complained.

My nana was my best friend growing up. She taught me so many things. Not things you learn in school, but the things that help to make you who you are.  My favorite flower, favorite childhood song, favorite food... all have ties to my nana.
Looking through pictures I am learning more more about my nana and her life... I only wish she was here to answer the questions I have. In these pictures Nana isn't always smiling, but I love that. I know that was the serious face she would make as she said something she knew was funny... and then, after a moments pause, she'd laugh at herself. 


Thank you, Nana, for helping me be the person I am today. I always have your voice in the back of my mind when I make decisions, and I promise that won't change. Thank you for thinking about me everyday, and loving me so much... I hope you felt the same amount of love from me as well. I'd say I hope you were proud of me, but I already know that you were.  I'm sorry I wasn't there when you left this Earth, and I'm sorry I didn't get you home before you went... I understand the comfort your home brings, and that's all that you wanted... I hope my visits brought you some comfort.

We always talked about my wedding and you being there, and it breaks my heart you won't be there in person... When that day {finally} comes I hope you're there in spirit... And I hope I look as beautiful as you did.


I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.  

Lucy Niezelski December 15, 1924 - May 27, 2015

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