My Nana, Shirley Dean Dillard Ledford

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Grief is a funny thing.  I don't know who is reading this right now, but if you're reading it and you do not know me (yes, I know this is highly unlikely as my blog is very boring for people who don't know me), my Nana passed away last November.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of her.  Mostly in passing, and there is almost always a moment when I forget she no longer resides in her house full of knick knacks in southeast Hickory.  She lived there all of my life and the memories I have of that house are countless.  It's being sold to someone who never met my Nana, to someone who will fill it with knick knacks of their own, to someone who will make new memories and never know that mine existed. 

There is said to be five stages of grief:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  I went through the denial stage, for sure.  Well, actually, I'm not sure I'm through with that stage just yet.  I don't think I will be angry, because while her life was too short in my opinion (she was 69 years old), she did lead a good, long, happy life.  I'm not the type of person to bargain (a little late for that, I think), or be depressed, so all I have left is acceptance. I'm working on that.  But it's the brevity of her illness that is hard to accept.  We went on a cruise to the Bahamas at the beginning of October, and she passed away on November 17.  I had never had anyone this close to me die before.  It's a hard thing to come to terms with.  Just knowing that now that she doesn't live on this earth anymore, all I have are my memories.  My children will never get to know her, other than as the old lady in the picture frame hanging in our hallway.  And when I leave this earth many many moons from now, she will be all but forgotten. 

My Papaw (Nana's husband) died of cancer when I was five.  I remember running around playing at his funeral, not understanding what we were there for.  I have vivid memories of him, some 20 years later, saying "See you later, alligator!" and me responding "After while, crocodile!" while leaving their house every weekend.  This is probably how my little cousins will remember Nana's funeral, and they will think of her famous chicken 'n' dumplings from time to time, but the rest of their memories will fade.

I know that Nana is in Heaven and that she is at peace now, but that doesn't stop me from missing her everyday.  She was generous, kind, had a great sense of humor, knew how to work a computer (for the most part), and loved salads.

So here's to you, Nana, for no other reason than I've been missing you for the last 144 days.  I will never forget who you were and what you meant to me.

My mom, far right, will hate that I posted this picture, but it is probably the last picture ever taken of her, my Aunt Pam, and Nana together.

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