How I Accepted My Nana’s Death
How I Accepted My Nana’s Death
The date was March 25th, 2014 @ approximately 11:36 pm, when God called my Nana home. Lucky for me, I was able to be right by her side...walking her to the other side.
It's amazing how quickly a good night can turn into a bad one. ("A bad night" is an extreme understatement.) Literally 45 minutes before my angel took her last breath, I was at home celebrating the new projects my husband and I were beginning work on. New music, new professional relationships, etc. I remember a whole lot of greatness taking place that day. Just as soon as my husband and I had gotten our son into bed, and were headed to bed ourselves, I get the most unexpected phone call, EVER! It was my little sister Jade' (not so little, she's 21 and goes to Alabama. Roll Tide! :) calling to tell me that Nana had gone into cardiac arrest at our family home. Luckily, Jade' was on spring break and at home when it happened. She rode in the ambulance with her.
Nana was not very sickly. She had a few health conditions, but she was otherwise a soldier. She retired at 75 years old from Cooper Green Hospital, still working 40 hour weeks as an RN. She was strong, she was vibrant, she was determined to take care of her family. She and my grandmother partnered together to raise my siblings and I. We call our grandma "Gama" and she (our great aunt) "Nana". Gama is still alive, and battling Alzhimers disease. Nana was her most prominent caretaker before her death. I have 6 full siblings. Two brothers and 4 sisters. Nana and Gama raised 6 of us, and Mom regained her sobriety 12 years ago, and has been raising our youngest sibling ever since. We're a tight knit family. My mom's place was always a couple minutes away from ours, and we're all always together, everyday. Now that Nana is gone, the family made a joint decision to move Gama back to Los Angeles (our hometown) to be taken care of by my sweet auntie and her family. Gama is now being taken care of the way she deserves to be. There was only so much my little 5'2 Nana could do on a daily, while everyone else worked and went to school. Nana was the breadwinner in our household and Gama was the homemaker, and it was that way until the very end. As they grew further into their golden years, Gama developed dementia. And as it worsened, the heavier grew Nana’s load.
This is part of the reason I was able to accept Nana’s death so gracefully. Although I essentially lost one of my mothers, and it hurt like hell, I couldn't help but feel overjoyed at the early inheritance Nana received. Off her shoulders was the weight of the world, and old responsibilities ceased to exist. On her now is her robe of righteousness and crown of glory, where worry and strife can harm her, no more. Hallelujah! :)
Another reason I was able to accept her death, is because I was able to say goodbye. Me and my Nana were tight. Our personal relationship was very very special and no one else will ever really know the true depths. She was a confidant, a friend. She was a rider too! Nana was chill until somebody messed with one of her babies! Lol. She was so cool, I could spit game at a dude @ a red light (when I was young and dating), and she would chime in with her line! Lol. She was funny, witty, had a sense of humor, hip to the times and always down to havefun! :)
Nana never had any kids... well... neither of the children she bore, survived. So being able to help my grandmother raise us, gave her the gift of motherhood that she wouldn't have otherwise had. Nana and Jade' had a real special thing too. Heck, Nana had a "special thing" with everybody, that's just who she was. But their little world was extra special too. And there in the end, at the side of the emergency trauma room bed, was Jade' and I (another peice of my beating heart). And together, we 3 shared a very special bond.
The team of emergency room physicians continued their task of keeping Nana’s heart beating, while my sister and I said our good byes in between chest compressions and the zapper electrocute-er thingy. My sister was a bit too choked up to say much, but I seized the opportunity to pour my heart out one last time. Through snot, tears and sobs, I thanked her for everything she did for my siblings and I. I told her how much I loved her, and how special she was and will always be to me. I told her that I understood that death to the flesh was the only way God could give her the rest and reward she deserved. And that it was ok...she could go on. We'll all be fine and I'll be strong. After about 10 more I love you's and remember when's, I let go, and released her hand. Up up and away to the heavens she went, and instantly I felt my heart rip. But that was okay...at least she could rest now. Have some fun, play with her babies that didn't make it...and for once, not have to worry or work.
While I was driving on the way to the hospital, I wasn't under the naive spell of wishful, hopeful thinking. Somehow I knew I was going to say goodbye to my Nana, and my only request from God was to keep her alive long enough for me to get to do just that. I knew that I wouldn't have been ok, without that.. Her death was too sudden and out of the blue, and if I had not had those last moments, I would probably still be a wreck today. I was completely unprepared to start living my life without her. But I told God, if he granted me that one request...I could handle the rest.
My family's foundational structure has since, changed tremendously. My mom now has my remaining 3 minor sisters under one roof. Gama is enjoying a better quality of life in L.A. and now my two brothers get to see her all the time. I'm fearlessly and ferociously pursuing my dreams. My little sisters are pressing on and getting more involved in after school activities. Jade is 2 semesters away from graduation. Mommy is getting stronger and is doing the damn thing with the girls, all by herself. And Nana is maxing and relaxing in heaven.
This is how I was able to accept my Nana’s death. I hope you can find strength from my story, and it can inspire you to press on in life after the death of a loved one.
Love. Live. Life.