From left: Nana at my wedding (she was nearly 91 years old here); mushing somewhere in Europe (she loved dogs); Nana looking down at my newborn sister in her arms (at 62 years).
I hate eulogies and am deathly afraid of speaking in public, but if I were to give my Nana's eulogy, it would go something like this:
98 years. Wow. That's 9 kids, 26 grandkids, and 16 great grandkids. Not to mention 2 world wars, and countless inventions of things we take for granted today. Despite the years behind her, my Nana always looked decades younger than her actual age. She was the most beautiful woman I know. If you asked her to reveal her fountain of youth, she would probably tell you it's her nightly application of Pond's Cold Cream, lemon only.
If you asked me, I would tell you her youthful beauty was due to her ability and decision to approach every potential problem with equanimity and humor. She had an uncanny ability to remain unfazed by pretty much anyone or anything, and she always had a quick retort for the most sarcastic of comments.
Nana was for a time my roommate, living in my mom's house after our Dodo died. During that time, she was the loudest champion of S, who was my boyfriend then. I'd come home in the wee hours, and she would open an eye and comment on the lateness of the hour or ask where we had gone. When we got married, she was as thrilled as a bride and as beautiful as one.
From Nana, I got a birthmark on my thigh in the shape of a seahorse, my love of books and all things canine, the unequaled pleasure of munching while feasting on a good book, and, I think, some measure of her emotional detachment and ability to let things just pass by. I may look like her, but her elegant beauty really was unparalleled.
Despite her age, I held a secret hope for a miracle: that she would stand up and walk and just be with us like she used to. To think that I will never again enter a room and see her reading one of her romance novels or watching a sappy movie, that I will no longer hear her laughter or feel her gentle hand in mine or hear her from the next bed say, "Gute nacht"... it was inevitable and yet it is inconceivable. The rest of my life will be peppered with memories of this last grandparent who was such a bright light in my life.
And now, we have one more of us resting in peace, yet another angel in heaven watching over us.