In phone conversations with my nana, at some point she’d generally say, “I read all your blog posts, Ryan – I just think it’s great!” While I don’t have a lot of 90-year-olds in my list of acquaintances, I do think it’s safe to say that Nana managed to keep up with the times more than many who make it that far in this life – she was also on Facebook. Now, this blog has a faithful readership that hovers in the low to mid-single digits, so it pains me to report to the rest of you that we lost Nana, one of Musical Me’s biggest fans, back on December 4.
Michael and I traveled back to Wichita to be with my family and participate in the services a couple of weeks ago. As we gathered and talked through an appropriate tribute, we decided to compile our memories for sharing at the service. I volunteered to read them, since I do a fair amount of talking in front of groups and believed myself capable of getting through the thoughts without utterly breaking down. I managed OK.
The memories we shared showed that we loved our nana to pieces, and she loved us. Tight hugs, a big smile, and lovingly hosted gatherings of family are what we and she treasured most. My parents took great care of her, especially after my grandfather died about six years ago. But most impressive, perhaps, is how she took care of herself. She lived on her own and was driving up until the very end, with a cooperative body and mind. We’d all be so lucky!
At the service, my amazing sister and her talented children provided music – sister at the piano playing opening and closing accompaniment, as well as playing alongside my nieces as they sang a celestial rendition of the old hymn It Is Well with My Soul. My mom’s oldest friend, after sharing a wonderful childhood memory of Nana, sang Joy Comes in the Morning.
We’re heading back to Wichita for our family Christmas celebration today, and it just won’t be the same without Nana. We’ll always have our memories, and I’ll always take comfort in the fact that hers was a long life filled with health and love. Happily, I think my sister is taking on the tradition of Nana’s Christmas Peanut Butter Balls, little bites of Nana’s legacy that anyone could appreciate.
Thanks for reading.