Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Nanny

Nanny, I am going to miss you so much.

This was the day of JoyAnna's dedication

My Nanny and my Papa with JoyAnna

Four Generations

Easter so many years ago- we were at the "Easter Park" Nanny and Papa had a huge old cedar tree in the front yard. The Easter bunny always left our gifts there. After church we all went to the park to hunt eggs and eat.

My Nanny - Edith Gray

I am going to copy a few things here. First the email I wrote after mom called.

My Nanny woke up in heaven this morning. She'd been wanting to do just that for a very long time. We were selfish to want her here with us, even though she knew it was time.

When I saw her in June, she was unhappy and let everyone know about it. I hated for that to be the last time I saw her and selfishly prayed I would get to see her again. I was so thankful I got that opportunity. In November, I went to see her for ten days. I was with her so much of the time. I cooked her things she wanted, we told stories, we laughed and we sang. We had so much fun. We decorated her Christmas tree. For those ten days she was the Nanny I remembered.

She told me then how much she would like to come see me in El Paso. She always did love a road trip. We both knew it was not likely, but it was fun to talk about it.

In my heart I knew I was actually telling her goodbye. I have such a peace about it now.

I don't think I am going to go home for the funeral. I have said my goodbyes to her. I am so glad I had that time to do that.

For a long time now, she thought she saw Papa, or Aunt Edna, or Aunt Jewell in the room with her. How exciting for her to actually be with them today.

I'll miss her. There is a place in my heart that is just her's, but I know she is no longer and pain and she is singing with the angels.

Now what Dean wrote:
In December 28 years ago I feel head over heels in love with Nanny's oldest Granddaughter Pam and was immediately received by the warmest and closest, ever growing family, anyone to ever wish for. Not only are many wonderful memories kept deep in my heart, but also there are many imaginations, one of which I would like to share:

I have always pictured this family bound together by the four loving arms of Nanny and Papa wrapped tightly around each of us.

Just imagine with me – "Papa and Nanny standing face to face with their arms stretched out, holding hands. In the middle are Gary, LaNell, Glenda, Wanda, Pam, Gary Jr., Carolyn, Steve and Kristen; here I come and they squeeze closer to make room for me into this tightly bound family. Over the years, we have continued to be even more tightly squeezed by adding many more; Ed, Jody, Troy, Becky, John, Heather, Eric, Holli, Zach, Heath, JoyAnna, Josh, Justin, Anna, Wes, Jamie and many, many more friends. Nanny and Papa have and will always have room for family".

Some of this family never knew Papa here on earth, but believe me; he has always remained on the other end of Nanny's two hands. Papa has now pulled Nanny to heaven with him. We are not left behind; we are still a family, still tightly bound by the loving arms of our Nanny and Papa. Let's continue to build wonderful family memories, which Nanny and Papa expect from us.

We all sometime wonder why God will allow situation to happen in our life, not only affecting us, but so many others. In May, of this year, Pam and I relocated our family to El Paso, more than 850 miles away from both sides of our family. We also left Eric at Louisiana Tech, even further away. God will answer your questions – the week prior to Thanksgiving, at the very last minute, I decided to take all my vacation time off and visit family in East Texas, we then pretty much packed up and left. Eric was out of school on Fall Break, so we decided to meet in him in Lufkin and spend some time together. God gave our family eight days to close our earthly time with Nanny. No doubt, if we had remained in Longview we would have spent less than four hours Thanksgiving Day with her, then we would have gone on our merry way. This is now a Thanksgiving that I can thank God for the rest of my life.

And now me again
When I left Nanny in November, I knew in my heart I wouldn’t see her again this side of heaven. We talked about that during my stay. She said she sure did wish she could get strong enough to visit me in El Paso, but we both knew that was not likely. She sang one of her favorite songs about crossing the River, and we talked about seeing each other there if she didn’t make to El Paso or I didn’t make it back to Lufkin before she made that final trip.
So many of my memories of Nanny include a trip. She surely did love a road trip. Most of my life I lived away from Nanny. That meant many, many road trips to Lufkin to see her. There were lots of trips where she would drive us home.
I remember seeing deserted houses along the way. She was always game to stop and rummage through them. We didn’t take anything, but it was fun to walk through and imagine the kind of lives their former inhabitants lived.
On those road trips, Nanny always sang songs. Many of these songs told stories, and they were not always happy stories. I think she knew every sad song ever written. We’d sing those, and then we’d sing those good old gospel songs. She tried her best to teach me to sing the parts, but I just never seemed to manage anything but the melody lines – even if it was the bass part. She’d just laugh and sing it the right way for me again.
When I was young, she and Papa took us to Arkansas on a vacation. It was so much fun. We had one of those little reel to reel recorders and a microphone. We did play by play of everything we saw and did – just like a newscaster. It got pretty silly, but it surely was fun.
When I was six and had my tonsils out, she and Aunt Edna took a road trip to Orange to see me. I probably hurt my mom’s feelings unintentionally, but I didn’t want her to stay with me at the hospital, I wanted Nanny and Aunt Edna. The took turns staying in the room with me. They sang me those songs and told me stories.
When I was in college, money was really tight. I would go to the mail box on campus and find an occasional card from Nanny. Sometimes there would be a dollar or two in the card. Knowing she was taking care of me even from so far away always made me smile.
There are too many memories for me to list, but each one is held in my heart. Not many people have the opportunity to know their grandmother for 45 years. I can say I was truly blessed by having mine for that long.
Since I said my goodbyes to her a few weeks ago, I am not going to go home for the funeral. Instead, I am going to take a road trip. I no longer have to go far to visit the mountains – but, I’m going to go to the mountain – on the way, I’ll sing some songs that tell a story. Then, I’ll sing those songs about crossing the River – and I’ll think about her standing there waiting for me as I cross that River.
I love you, Nanny.

1 comment:

Becky said...

This is beautiful! I love what Dean wrote and so true!
We missed seeing you guys there!
Was glad to walk in and see Eric.
Tell Dean, I saw Eric sittig in that pew and told Butch, "He looks just like Dean sitting there! Geez!" And Butch said, "Naw, Dean never looked that good!" :o)
miss ya'll
SO very sorry for all you are going through with the job!!!