I remember her house had a pool with a slide. My sister and I always liked going there as kids. We would walk through the house soaking wet to change clothes in the back bathroom where Nanny’s boyfriend’s drenchers would be sitting next to the sink in a scotch glass. We always laughed at that. She always had dogs running around the house, but the only one I remember was a small black poodle named Dutchess – she always licked your toes under the dinner table.
As we grew older, Nanny sold her house to her daughter, my aunt, and moved into a much smaller trailer right down the street in Pelion, South Carolina. She had a beautiful garden and often gave my family tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and zucchini – even though it usually rotted before we got around to eating them.
She used to come over once every three years or so when my mom was stressed and do all of the laundry for us. When we came home it was all neatly folded around the kitchen.
I’m not sure how the name Nanny came about. I guess because my dad’s mom already took the title of grandma. She was so sweet. Always giving us sloppy kisses when we thought we were too cool for them.
Today is November 4, 2017 and my Nanny passed away. She was visiting a friend in Florida when she got really sick and had to be hospitalized on Halloween. My mom and two of her three sisters drove nine hours down to Florida the next day to comfort her in Nanny’s last hours. I was told she had pancreatitis, a sickness with no cure, and had a 50/50 chance at healing herself, but no one was very hopeful. At her age of 87, it would have been really difficult to fight.
I remember getting the call. I had just heated up a microwavable meal and I saw that my mom had tried to reach me. I knew. I looked at the meal and thought ‘that’s going to be the first meal I eat after Nanny’s death.’ I didn’t want to call back because I didn’t want it to be real, but I eventually called her back and she said, “hey Shannon, Nanny passed away.” My brain held no words. She continued to tell me that she didn’t suffer and my mom had the chance to hold her hand during her final breaths.
I started weeping. I wasn’t sure what to do. I guess I had always thought my family was indestructible. We had never really experienced any deaths since I had been born.We weren’t even that close, but she was family and the thought of someone I’m related to not existing anymore? Well that shook me down to my core. How was I supposed to be there for my mom when I am 100 miles from home with no car? I felt helpless. I will never see her again. I will never have another Thanksgiving or Fourth of July with her. She’s gone. I hated not being able to be with my family during this time of utter heartbreak.
The last thing she told me was a comment on an article. She said, “I’m so proud of you, love you, Nanny.”