It has been a rough few weeks for our family. The end of summer rush and start of the school year chaos was overshadowed by a lot of family drama.
About a week before K started 2nd grade we got a call that we were dreading, Nanny was placed on hospice. Her health had been precarious for years and I think we took for granted that all those close calls would always end happily.
We went to see her the same day that K was going to meet her 2nd grade teacher. We went and spent most of the day with her and it was bittersweet. The girls got to have some extra snuggles with her and it was good for my husband to have this time with his Nanny.
One thing that I will never forget is when we walked in she said, “isn’t this the girl you adopted?” Asking Richie about K. She is 7 so we never had that discussion with her and I had to make a mental note to discuss everything with her later.
The rest of the visit was a bit like a rollercoaster. There were such sweet moments where we’d talk about happy memories and then there were the devastating ones where she started giving the girls toys and jewelry to remember her and discussing her funeral arrangements.
When we went home we had that talk with K, a blog for another day, and she met her 2nd grade teacher. Life went back to semi-normal but K knew something was up with nanny and was sad that she was sick.
A week later we went back up to see everyone. We had another family member celebrating their 103rd birthday! There was a dance party and lots of fun and on the way home we decided to stop and see nanny before heading home.
It was late, the kids were tired and cranky and Richie felt bad about wanting to go because of the time. After discussing it we knew we had to go and see her. If we didn’t go and something happened I knew he would regret it and I didn’t want that.
So we went.
It was such a great visit. Nanny was obviously tired, but in good spirits. K got to snuggle a lot. She knew this time when we went that her time with Nanny was precious and she just laid next to her, not wanting to leave.
M was better this time around too, she gave a hug when we went to leave, which for M is a big deal. L played with Papa most of the time, still too young to understand what was going on.
Richie promised Nanny he’d come see her the next week, I kissed her cheek and told her I loved her and then I corralled the girls out of the house so Richie could say goodbye without the craziness.
It was the next day that we go the phone call. K and I wept and Richie was his stoic self – staying strong for us.
The next few days passed in a blur. I had to get the girls things for the funeral and Richie was a pallbearer so we needed to find a suit for him. He had to make arrangements at work and since it was only the 2nd week of school I had to talk to K’s teacher.
Still, despite feeling like I was running through mud trying to get everything done, the day came for us to head to Jacksonville for the viewing and funeral. K was the only girl that understood and she cried any time she thought of nanny so we found her the blanket nanny crocheted her and told her her snuggle it. I told her that anytime she missed nanny to just wrap it around her and it would be like nanny was giving her a big hug.
The girls did pretty good for the funeral. I took the two younger ones out so Richie and K could sit for the service. Afterwards we had to drive to the cemetery.
The drive to the cemetery was the worst part for me. All of a sudden M realized she couldn’t see nanny again. She kept saying she wanted to go to heaven and she wanted to party with nanny. How do you explain to a 3 year old what heaven really is?!
Then the drive home M kept asking to buy wings for our van so we could fly to heaven to see Nanny. I was strong until then, hearing her innocent cries to see her nanny again broke me.
Since then I’ve been in a funk. I’ve been struggling to get back into the swing of things for my page and my family.
Nanny was such a special person to me and to K. When Richie and I first got together she welcomed us into the family with open arms. she loved K so much, despite the fact everyone told me she didn’t like babies. I have such precious memories that I will cherish forever and I’m glad that I have them to tell to K when she is older too.
Saying goodbye is hard, but never so hard as when you’re watching your child’s heart break from saying goodbye as well.