I have been wanting to post something meaningful about Nana as a tribute to the great person she was. I’ve been kind of putting it off because I don’t want to wallow. She wouldn’t want that. I know that because she told me so. She said, “You’ll be alright Coleen.” And she’s right. I am, for the most part. Well, to clarify, I am NOT alright living in a world where Nana is intangible but I am a realist and a person who faces ugly truths so I HAVE to be okay. And just because Nana has moved to a place where I can’t ring her physical doorbell, doesn’t mean she’s out of my reach.
All that said, here are a few of the many reasons why Nana was a seriously awesome person:
1) She was very, very kind. She welcomed everyone into her home and never made anyone feel like a bother. She was great at making sure people felt welcome.
2) She was HILARIOUS. Nana is my “comedy stylings” hero. She had such a WEIRD sense of humor. Very quick. Very subtle. My mother has very much the same sense of humor, though a little more overt. Nana barely said anything that wasn’t funny. Even when she’s angry, she’s saying funny stuff. She can’t help it. One of the things I will always miss most is that bizarre, gentle sense of humor. She even had me laughing during the very last conversation I had with her. And I was saying goodbye to her. Because she was dying and we both knew it. I was crying and laughing and resting my head on her chest. It was a perfect way to remember her and it makes me cry with gratefulness to think of it. (In fact, I just did haha.)
3) She was really smart. Nana grew up in an era where women weren’t really totally in charge of their “careers”. Well, no that’s not necessarily true. It just wasn’t as common is more what I’m trying to say. A few months before she passed, Nana told me that she used to work for IBM and that she used to want to work for the FBI. I did not know that. She would’ve been GREAT at it because that woman had a mind like a well-timed clock. To our benefit, instead she turned that mind around and focused on raising her family and then her grandkids. It’s fun to imagine the kinds of things she could have also done with a mind like hers. (I’m glad we got her full attention instead of having to split it with IBM and the FBI but that’s my selfishness haha.)
4) Nana was always there for everyone. She always said prayers for people and always was a calming presence to those who loved her. She was stable and steady, always there with a hug, a joke, a cookie and some good stories. She made you feel better when she was around, I just hope that I was able to do the same for her. (Although I know sometimes I made her crazy haha.)
Anyway, I can’t say anymore because it’s making me upset. The reason I started writing this was because I thought I was finally at a point where it wouldn’t make me tear up. I was wrong haha.
So here are some pictures instead.
This was taken at either my 3rd, 4th or 5th birthday party. That’s Nana, PopPop, me (on the left) and my sister (on the right):
This is a picture I’ve used on this blog to illustrate “white people”. It is also, both sides of my family gathered on the steps of St. Cecelia’s Church for my Christening. Nana is on the top row to the right. Peep the big red hair:
This is I guess when I was first born. I think I am the nugget being passed. The woman holding the nugget is my Aunt Rose (Grandpa Barr’s sister), that’s Nana in the middle and Nanny (my Dad’s Grandma) on the left:
Here is Nana again. I have no idea whose birthday this is but I also spy a Christmas stocking up behind Nana’s head. That’s my cousin Marianne on the left, me (the wee one) in the middle and my other cousin Kelly on the right.
This is a picture that I really love and just found. Nana is on the left, I am the lassie, Gram (my Mom’s Grandma) and my Mom on the right.
Here is a picture of Nana and my sister Christine in our old kitchen on Woodland Ave. That wallpaper always reminded me of the wallpaper from Willy Wonka. “SNOZBERRIES!”
Here is a blurry photo of my Mom’s graduation day from Nursing School. From right to left, it’s Gram, Mom, Uncle Danny (bringing up the rear), Nana and PopPop.
Here is a much clearer picture. I promise Nana smiled A LOT. She just didn’t like having her picture taken and always kind of stayed stern-looking haha. I don’t know why she thought she looked better grimacing but you can’t speak reason to people regarding pictures can you? Haha.
This picture was taken outside the house on Stuyvesant. I wasn’t even a glimmer in my Mother’s eye at this time. This is my Uncle Danny, Nana and Mom. It might be Easter judging my my Mother’s hat.
I don’t know where this picture was taken but it’s my Mom, Nana and *I think* Uncle Jimmy.
Here is a picture they took on the day of someone’s wedding though I’m not sure whose. This is my Aunt Pat on the left, a woman whose identity I’m not sure of, Nana and another woman whose identity I’m not sure of. No one hurt me.
Here is my Mom, lady, Nana, lady.
And here is a bonus picture of me and Gram. I grew up living with her and miss her a lot too. Gram was PopPop’s Mom and also a really good person. I’m lucky to have so many good people in my life. You don’t even know how lucky I feel.