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MY DADS SADDNESS
My dad was a strongly determined and semi-stern man when I was growing up. He was the breadwinner for our family, and our typical day-to-day activities were heavily regulated by his plans and schedules. It was yet another reminder of this side of him when he told us that my nana had died. His unwavering dedication to her care during her illness was expected, but even after her death, he still wasn't willing to let go.
I never heard him cry, or even speak of her out loud, at least not while I was around. He kept his composure and his attitude of strength, never breaking his stride in front of his family. But I knew my dad well enough to realize that this side of him was not entirely genuine. Behind everything that he was doing and saying, I could still feel the pain and grief of his loss.
My dad's relationship with my nana was beyond words. They had a bond that a lot of people I know would give anything for. She had a place of residence in our house, and my dad was her primary caretaker. He found ways to make her life more comfortable, even though I knew that it was taking a toll on him at the same time.
I've come to learn about my father's love for my nana by paying attention to the small things that he does throughout her memory. For instance, I remember he had attended her funeral wearing her favorite necklace that was passed down to him. He was even able to include a picture of her in his wallet, and he kept it there, even years after she had passed away.
His grief was clear, but he never wanted to talk about it. Still, no matter what, his love for her was always undeniable. I knew that he had not yet accepted the fact that she was gone, and he wanted to keep her close, even if it was just in spirit. He stumbled through his days, still grieving her absence while also trying to move forward. I could see all of this in his daily routine; it was like a silent testament to his immense love and respect for my nana.
While my dad is still mourning the loss of my nana, I can tell that he still wants to honor her memory. Though it has been many years since she passed away, his dedication to keeping her alive and close to his heart has never changed. He has shown me in his own unique way that he will never let go of my nana, no matter what.
HOW SHE DIED
My nana, Eunice Hampton, died on a cool November Friday when I was just thirteen years old. To us, she was everyone’s guiding light and the matriarch of our family. In the weeks leading up to her death, she had been fighting cancer – something she had bravely endured since I was a young child. She was an incredibly resilient woman, and her will to live carried her through the pain of cancer treatments and the blinding exhaustion that came with it.
In the weeks before she died, Nana’s health started to decline rapidly. She became increasingly ill and her cancer treatments, which she had once embraced with courage and conviction, had done little to help her fight the disease. She spent most of the final few days in her bedroom due to the extreme fatigue and lack of energy she was experiencing.
I was 12 and that November Friday was a sad day for me, my sister, and our family. We all gathered around Nana’s bedside in our small home to bid her goodbye. We told her how much we loved her and how she was an inspiration to us all, and we cried for her strength and courage. As the end drew near, we held her hands and watched her slowly drift away into her final days.
My nana’s death was a devastating blow to our family, but it was also a time of inspiration and remembrance. Everyone spoke of her inner strength and positive attitude that carried her through until the end, and all of us took solace in knowing that she was in a better place.
Even though Nana’s death was tragic and heartbreaking, she will live on in the hearts and minds of our family members forever. She was a strong woman who overcame adversity, and she left behind a legacy of courage and strength. Nana may be gone, but she will never be forgotten.
My Nana was an incredibly special woman. Not only was she my grandmother, but she was also my best friend. I remember spending countless days together, crafting in her cozy kitchen, shopping for the newest clothes and accessories, and traveling to the beach, where we collected beautiful seashells resulting in a mosaic of memories. She was the bright spark in my life and without fail, always brought a smile to my face.
As the months turned into years and I eventually grew up, my visits with Nana became less and less frequent. Due to work commitments, my family and I were unable to visit her as often as we’d liked. Nevertheless, every time we did meet, it felt as though no years had passed between us. Our relationship had stood the test of time.
Unfortunately, as the years went on, Nana’s health began to decline. In a blink of an eye, she was admitted to the hospital, and in another blink of an eye, she had been taken away from me forever. I felt an overwhelming sense of sudden sorrow, a feeling I had not experienced before. Nothing could have prepared me for such a devastating loss.
The emptiness that was left in my heart has been something I’ve struggled to come to terms with. Even today, months after her passing, I can still feel the heaviness of the sadness I feel when I think of her. Even when I see something or do something that she would have been so proud of, the saddness remains.
A part of my now broken connection with my Nana is something which I think about daily, missing her humor, beauty, and everlasting care for me. I think about how I no longer get to experience the joy we experienced in our trips to the beach, her comforting laugh, and endless hugs.
Nana’s loss brings me both heavy sorrow, and equally, a flood of soft, sentimental memories which I will forever cherish. In her absence, I now look to the sky and thank her for being such a kind and special woman, who even in death, still brings me the lightest of smiles.