Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nona: My Sweetest Memory

At the beginning of February my family suffered a tremendous loss. My Nona, the sweetest most joyful and selfless woman you will ever meet headed home to be with Jesus. Since that day, we have all handled her loss in different ways.

We were blessed to spend a weekend together in Michigan celebrating her life, sharing memories, and mourning the fact that she would not be there to make further ones. Even now, I still get choked up just thinking about the fact that she will not be at family gatherings anymore.

She was a rock, not only for my grandpa, who was married to her for 56 years, but for all of us. She was the most wonderful woman, loving mother, and doting grandmother anyone could ever ask for. I know she is in heaven, with her infectious laugh, enjoying every minute spent with her creator. While I know she is in a far better place, my heart still wants her here with us.

Everything inside of me wants my Nona to be around to bless my (someday) children in the same way she blessed me. We were birthday buddies I was born on August 30 and she was September 1.  I always loved getting to celebrate with Nona and feeling like we shared a special day even though we were two days apart.

She was always quilting and for that I am so blessed. Not only do we all have a physical reminder of the time Nona invested in us through beautiful quilts but also the memories associated with that. As we were gathered in Michigan, every single grandchild had a memory of Nona helping them sew something, remembering trips to Joann's fabrics, which we all thought was named after her, and picking out something special for a new project.

Nona was also an expert in the kitchen. Her baking repertoire had no limits in my eyes. However, one of my favorite memories in the kitchen with her had nothing to do with preparing a delicious feast. I loved squeezing orange juice whenever we went to their house using her motorized citrus juicer. So much so, that Nona would make sure to always have a full crate of oranges in the pantry whenever we would come to town. The sticky mess I made an left was nothing to Nona. This was a tradition I so much enjoyed, that I recall my favorite Christmas gift one year was a juicer just like Nona's of my very own.

I could write a book about the wonderful memories I have with my Nona. However, I know, being one of the oldest grandchildren, I was blessed to know her as an adult as well. When I tell my kids stories about my Nona someday, I will have a husband sitting next to me who understands exactly why I idolized this woman as much as I do. She is a woman I loved and continue to love so much and want to emulate more than anyone else in the world.  This is true to the point that I chose to wear her wedding dress which further represents how I will carry a piece of Nona in my heart always.

I know once many have passed their faults fade away and the good is all we remember. I tried to console myself by thinking of Nona's faults and shortcomings. But as I searched through all of my memories I could hardly remember a harsh words spoken to me from Nona.

Through prayer and petition I have searched high and low for the best way to honor Nona's memory. What I keep coming back to time and time again is to live like she did. To love with abandon. To find joy in all situations and circumstances. And to always have room in your heart and your table for one more. Nona was one-of-a-kind. And this blog post doesn't even come close to capturing the sea of emotions still raging in my heart. However I know as we continue forward, memories will fade and emotions will blur. And I wanted to ensure that I would capture to the best of my ability the love, admiration, and emulation I have for my Nona.

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