Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hard Words: What I Carry

I have to write a post. If I write one then I am able to write another and then another. I have not forgotten about my blog. I have avoided it.

My last grandparent, Nana Rice passed away in February and I knew that my next post had to address that loss and so I wrote nothing.
My Nana Rice lived her entire life on one street. Her family was very close and many of the cousins and siblings still live only a few houses away. The neighbors who were not relatives, soon became like family. My grandparents were the couple that hosted social events and included everyone. They loved traditions and big gatherings and thought nothing of throwing a last minute party.

Today is Easter. We spent it with my Mom's family, the people who are feeling her absence the most. My grandparents had four kids, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. And when we are all together, we fill the room with stories, sarcasm, and laughter. It is easy to see that we are existing in a space crafted by my grandparents. And so it was nice. But it is still not easy.

My Nana was kind and generous and hilarious! Every time I was with her, she made me laugh. It was the way she observed the world. She said things in a straight forward manner and ended sentences with laughter. When she laughed, she scrunched her whole face as though she was crying. The harder she laughed, the more it appeared as though she was crying. My Mother does the same thing. It makes them look so sad when they are so joyously happy. And it makes everyone else laugh harder.

I swear she is laughing in this photo!
Her laughter was contagious and made everything feel lighter, more manageable.
The last time I saw her I asked, "How are you feeling?"
She answered, "Terrible!" But then she laughed. A sincere chuckle that made me wonder if she was actually fine or if she just knew how to find a moment for release.

I think of this small interaction often. I take so much from her. She was a woman that had it figured out: enjoy life, gather the people you care about most, raise a family that supports one another, and find laughter when nothing else can be done.

I love my family.

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