Sunday, April 28, 2013

I'm down to my last cigarette

Today is my Nana's birthday. She would have been 98. She's been gone for over 16 years, but I still miss her. I wish I could have just one more conversation with her. I still have so many questions.

Grandparents are just always there in your life. They're the host of family dinners and the babysitter that can always be counted upon. They've always been old, fully formed. Even though we grew close, I wish I would have asked her more about her life.

I grew close to Nana after my parents moved to Pennsylvania, when I was still living in Toledo. My mom asked that I call her every day, a task I did not want to do at the time. What 22-year-old wants to be stuck calling her grandmother every single day? But it turned out to be wonderful. We got to know each other, beyond just grandmother and granddaughter, and we got to depend on each other. It must have been that year that I started calling her at midnight every New Year's Eve. I usually would wake her up, but she'd tell me how happy she was to hear from me. I knew that I'd start every year with someone who loved me.

I drove her to Philadelphia and back home a number of times. I loved those trips. I knew she needed to stop more than I would; she needed to grab a cigarette and make a rest stop. She would tell me that I didn't really need to stop for her, but I would insist that I needed to grab a Diet Coke or put gas in the car. She'd say, "well, if you have to stop..." We had an understanding.

I realize now how much she must have gone through in her life. I want to ask her about when she was young. I imagine that she was the pretty, party girl. I know she got in trouble, and then she was rescued by my grandfather. I wonder what that was like for her. I wonder what the Depression and World War II were like. I remember how sad she was when my grandfather died, and I wonder how she dealt with that, and I wonder what made her break out of that depression.

I'm not one to believe in such things, but, if I have an angel watching over me, I choose to believe that she is my angel. I'm lucky to have her.

No comments: