How are you? It is June, I mean, already! Seriously. Why do you think it is going by all so fast? It is not because we are older so tell me something different. My kids are getting older; I am getting wiser! You too?
Here we are together again, sharing this moment. Thank you for being here with me. I love spending this moment together, and I look forward to the day we can hug and share more significant moments in person, but for now, we take what we have, and we appreciate it, so I thank you for being here with me.
Today is an extra special day for me. Today is Nana’s 99th birthday! Yes, 99th. She went on to heaven at 98 this year. At 96 years of age, she was still cooking and living alone. She moved in with the family at 96, where she was more than well taken care of until she transferred to the other side of life. Is your Nana still on earth?
My Nana was everything. And I mean everything! We did not have the means to send everyone in our family financially or even one person to university without applying for grants and aid; still, Nana would find a way to make it happen for us. 5 grand-children she had (we’ll get on to the great-great later, well, I may forget, so let’s say she had many incredible great-greats and loved them all unconditionally) and was our mother and our father. Unfortunately, Nana lost her mother when she was between 5-7 years of age. Her mother passed away during birth This is partly why we support one of the charities, Every Mother Counts, in our philanthropy section.
All she wanted was her mother her entire life. Nana spoke of her daily and so often. It tears my heart each time I think of her living her whole life without her mother. She was only an innocent child having to deal with that loss. Nana, I am sorry your mother passed away and left you as a young girl to be everything for everyone, but I also thank you and your mother. Because of her, we have you, and you are who you are because of your journey, so thank you.
Nana worked nights for the postal service; it was the only job I knew her to have other than loving all of us. She loved deep and strong too. We would spend the night with her and try hard to keep the noise down during the day, which was our awakening hour because she would have to get up and go to work that evening. Looking back, I wonder was she ever tired when we kept her up, and she had to go in so late on not much sleep ( I am sorry Nana if so).
I never thought to ask her that until now. Sleep was not on my radar then, the way I know it today, so I bet she was sleepy many times but did what she had to do. She never, and I mean never, complained about her work. I never heard her complain honestly about anything. Only the last few years of specific aches and pains, and rightfully so, she was in her 90s by then.
Gosh, do I miss her and realize more as I write this to you how truly a phenomenal woman she is. And I say it is because spiritually, for me, she is present, just not in the physical. She had surprised us and picked us up after school on many days. I was so happy and extra grateful on those days when I had the big and heavy cello to carry home and saw Nana honking down the street to let us know she was coming to help. She wanted to protect us, and I so get it and understand all of that now as a mama bear myself. Pitch in and help and create a safe village!
Nana was a powerful woman. I mean strong. A photo of her can be found in the dictionary next to the word strong. (Do not look, there are no more dictionaries, remember). She was an excellent home cook, she made homemade delicious ice cream for birthdays or simply because we wanted some. If she asked us to buy her ice cream, it was Neapolitan ice cream (chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla all in one tub together) and she effortlessly got it all done, and I mean done…I am so incredibly blessed to have had her in my family unit, taken after her in many areas, and all that I learned from her. Nana knew luxury and appreciated the finer things in life such as fine china, sterling silver, and nice shoes and clothing items.
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I know my mother took after her with her class and elegance. She had a great role model. Nana introduced us to fancy stores like Neiman Marcus and Bonwit Teller when we were little. She was such a lady. She always had a tissue in her purse—lipstick on to go to the grocery store (I did not take after her with that part). Nana did not want to see any of her family in tears. It would make her sad. I understand this more now that I am a mother. Family and family time was crucial to her. She traveled with us to the Bahamas on a girl’s trip-my mother, my sisters, and I. She flew to Capri for my wedding and was so happy and delighted to meet Sean Combs (Puffy, P-Diddy, Love, etc.).
I knew how amazing she was, but I wish I knew then. However, I do not live in regret at all, so I appreciate everything I had with her then and now.
Nana, I know you are in me and with me. I feel you; I hear you and know you are helping guide all my steps. Keep talking to me like you do when I am in the kitchen when you tell me not to waste so much from the ends of the collard greens when I cut them to clean them. Thank you for being wonderful. Thank you for all that you have done and still do. Thank you for being my Nana and Nana to all those blessed to come across your path. I love you dearly, and I physically miss you so much. I celebrate you every day but more today as it was the day, I know that you and your mommy had together.
If you have a Nana with my Nana above shining on us right now, tell your Nana thank you and happy birthday right now too, for all the Nana’s.
Happy 99th Birthday, Nana.
Keep hugging and kissing all on your mommy, and know she is never leaving you again. I love you always.
Much love & gratitude Your 3rd Grandchild,
Erica Reid, Founder of nécessité
Certified Holistic Health Coach
Gut Health & Auricular Therapy (Ear Seeds)
Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition Certification T.Colin Campbell for Nutrition Studies.
Author of The Thriving Child and Shut Up and Cook!