Monday, June 7, 2010

Nan


Sometimes you can go back and pinpoint the exact moment when your life took a new direction.  Significant things like marriage and births and deaths are obvious. I’m talking about just an otherwise ordinary moment when making one single turn makes an unexpected, significant and lasting change.

For us it was July 25th, 2003 just before 8 pm on a vacation in Newfoundland.  We turned left instead of going straight.  We were on our way to another town and thought we’d take a minute to drive by a house that we had just learned was for sale.  We had turned down an offer to go and see it, but when we saw the sign to Herring Neck, we made a quick decision to turn left and have a little peek at the area.  While we were that close, why not take a drive by the house.

That one single turn led us to a world that surely was destined for our lives right from the beginning. We found at the end of that road, a community and a family that just seems to have been a piece of a puzzle in our lives that apparently was missing and we didn’t even know it.

The house belonged to a 92 year old lady who was living in an extended care facility. Her son, an only child had decided that it was time to sell it.  Fate took us to their door and in less than an hour, we owned it.


Even though the house was empty, it had the most wonderful aura – a comfortable and happy energy. I could just feel it.  When I met the sweet lady who had made it a home, I knew why. She was pure delight.  There was such life to her – a joy and twinkle, a warmth and humour. We had an instant bond.


For seven years, a very big part of my life there has revolved around spending time with her.  That is how I start my time out there, and end it, and spend many treasured moments in between. 


A few years after moving in to her home, we had the opportunity to buy the house beside us, which was the original homestead where she lived as a new bride. She gave birth to her son in the upstairs bedroom. We were so pleased to be able to put the property back to how it was in the beginning.  It struck me how my feet were walking that same path that she had trod sixty five years earlier – living in one house while fixing up the other. "Tell me what that was like." I’d ask her, and she would give me a vision of what life was like in that outport community.  "We worked hard.", she’d say "‘It was a good life." When I would ask her what her favourite anything was - her favourite pastime or her favourite memory - she'd say "It's ALL my favourite. I loved it all. It was ALL Wonderful."

She seemed truly pleased that we were there.  She’d say "I’m so glad that house is filled with fun and laughter – it always was."  I could tell.  She’d introduce me to everyone with a certain pride "She has my house.", she’d say. "OUR house.", I’d correct her "Yours AND mine – always WILL be."  ‘Your rhubarb is ready.’ I’d tell her, and take her up a pie each and every year.  ‘Your roses are blooming.’, I’d inform her, and take her up the blossoms. It is still very much her house. I can see her getting up on Christmas morning and coming down those stairs.  And going down to the stage to spend long hours cleaning fish or up to the 'n 'ouse to get the h'eggs.


"I goes home every night." she told me.  "I walks through every room of that house.  And I sees George." she’d say. "We had some times there."

Such an inspiration - my dear Nan. She read voraciously, preferring Romance novels. I would take her up bags of books and get a chuckle when she’d go through them and pick the one with the raunchiest cover to read first. "used to get True Confessions." she chuckled one day. "Everyone turned their nose up at me, but they were right over to borrow them." For her 95th birthday, I got her some from the 50’s and 60’s on Ebay.  She crocheted the most beautiful doilies and gave me numerous ones for the house.  "These hands have done some work." she’d say, as I’d hold them gently and stroke them. She’d look pensive for a moment, then grin, pat my hand and giggle.

"I loves you." she’d tell me often.  "I love you too." I’d reply. "I knows you do." she’d answer with a big smile.


Each autumn when I would leave for the last time, I'd have a cry on the way home, a dreadful feeling that there might be a possibility that she would not be there when I returned in the spring.  My visits with her were so much part of my routine from the very beginning and I could not begin to imagine life out there without them.

On Friday, I knew when I left her that it would be the very last time that I would ever see my sweet friend.  It was so hard to say goodbye.  Each day that I had been up there, I would say "love you." as I kissed her good bye. "I loves you too." she’d reply. On Friday, my final words to her were "I do hope you know how very much I love you."  "I knows." she assured me in a small and quiet voice."I knows."

Nan passed away today at 99.  I am ever grateful that she had waited for me to get home to say our final goodbyes to each other. And I am ever grateful for that left turn, which brought her into my life.

5 comments:

BucksCountyFolkArt said...

OH Ev, what a tribute to this lovely woman.

Remember - carry her in your heart, not on your shoulders.

Hugs,
Jill

Trish said...

It sounds like she lived a great life. You were lucky to have shared some of it with her and to have heard her story.
I'm sure both your lives were enriched by your closeness.
blessings
Trish

niknik said...

Соболезную. Она была очень красивой: и душевно и внешне. Вам повезло, что у вас была она.

LDahl said...

A beautiful tribute, as I was afraid it was when I started reading this. Sad, I am, but why? Do you know you even look like her? She lived the best of life, and you were there to share. You both were blessed.

Ev said...

Thanks gals ... you are all so sweet - thank you for taking the time to comment. It's so hard for me to get my head around the fact that she is gone. With how much she loved her home, I know that I will forever have a very strong sense of her being there. A special angel.