Sunday, August 16, 2009

103 years and no more time

When I was a little girl, I never realised how lucky I was. Not only did I have two parents but I had grandparents on both sides AND I had a great grandmother. I had Aunts and Uncles and cousins all over the place. I had a giant family and I was loved.

As I got older, and second marriages came into play, my family continued to increase in size. Some of my friends who were in similar situations were astounded that I took it in stride so well but hey, more people means more Christmas presents right? Another thing I realised as I got older was that it was unusual for me to have two sets of grandparents, but even rarer to have a great grandparent who was still alive.

My great-grandmother, Nanny as she was known to us kids, was amazing. She lived in Nova Scotia in a small little town called Pubnico. I suppose, looking back now, her house was really NOT as big as my 6 year old brain thought it was but at the time, and the way it is etched in my memories, that place was HUGE. Even now when I think about her house, I picture it as almost a castle.

I remember the wood stove in the kitchen, and the wonderful smell it created. The "pink room" was my bedroom when we stayed. A pink ruffled comforter and pink cushions. It was a truly girly room and I loved it. It seemed to me that there were a million bedrooms in that house. I know now that it didn't, but when you're 6 or 7 everything is exaggerated isn't it?

As I have gone through the years and gotten to the age where I start thinking about what I'd like my house to have when I finally get a chance to build it, it's Nanny's house that I picture in my head. Most specifically the attic. It was a finished attic and it was beautiful. Also, the garage. Ohhh the treasures that those two rooms held I'm sure. What I wouldn't give to go and investigate - one more time.

My Nanny was fantastic. I was young the last time I saw her. No older than 9 I don't think. She was a funny woman who could make you laugh. She told it how it was. Although my mom and dad have been divorced for many years, to this day if you ask my dad about Nanny he will tell you how amazing she was.

I remember staying in her house, listening to her talk, going for a walk to the post office around the corner to check her mail box. Somehow, I often came away with a little bag of chips out of the deal. I would love to go for a walk with her - one more time.

Nanny was born in 1906. Theodore Roosevelt was President of the US, Wilfred Laurier was Prime Minister of Canada and Edward the 7th was the King. Since her birth, she lived through multiple wars including two World Wars. She saw the invention of the electric washing machine, the bra and television. Racism, riots, raunchy and ridiculous politicians. Technology has continued to advance and the life of the everyday person has changed in ways I'm sure most of us cannot even begin to imagine. I would love to sit on a porch with my Nanny and hear her stories and adventures from decades gone past - one more time.

One more time. We say it all the time. Our children come to us and ask us to read a story - one more time. We play our favourite song on our iPods (I wonder what Nanny would think of that?!) - one more time. We go and visit our best friend or relative - one more time.

But sometimes, there is no more time.

My Nanny passed away this morning, Sunday, August 16th. She was 103 years old. In over 20 years, I haven't made it back to see Nanny. I haven't had another chance to hear her stories or go for a walk or sit on her porch. My opportunity for "one more time" has passed.

I'm sure I will forever regret not making more of an effort to find my way to Nova Scotia to see the woman who was so loved. My only consolation is that I know she lived a full life and got to see so many amazing things before she passed away.

Nanny is survived by her three sons and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren (!!). We are all thankful that she can now sit beside her husband (Grampie) and keep watch on us all with his help.

Today is a sad day because she is gone but I know that I will also celebrate the long life that she had.

We'll miss you Nanny - more than my words can ever convey. Rest in Peace!

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  1. I'm so sorry sweetie...It's so hard to lose any any one - but it sounds like she lived a (long) a good life.

    And by the way - it's great to see you back online...Glad to know you made the trip ok.

  2. Oh my friend, I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like she was amazing. Sending many good thoughts and warm hugs your way.

  3. That's an amazing life! wow...and you honor her wonderfully by this post. Very sorry for your loss. And yes, when you are young houses seem SO much bigger than they really are!

  4. So sorry for your family's loss. She sounds like she was an amazing woman, and my goodness, what a life!

  5. Sorry to hear about her passing, but glad to hear that she gave a lot of life! May Nanny live on through Mad Woman!

  6. I'm sorry to hear of your loss Maggie. My kids know what you're talking about pretty well too. One of their great-grandmothers (they still have 3 living) will celebrate her 105th birthday at the end of August. They see her about twice a year. She's not only lived through the same people your Nanny did, but she also lived in other countries and survived their wars as well. She's a remarkable woman. Your nanny sounds like someone my boys Oma would have loved to sit and chat with, and can you imagine the things you and I would learn from these women? May Nanny enjoy watching all of her kids, grands, great grands, and great great grands from her balcony seat now!

  7. Wow, 103 years old. She saw so much, and touched so many lives. I'm sorry for your loss, but she seemed like she was a great woman.

  8. This was a beautiful post. I'm sorry for your loss, she sounds like she was an awesome woman. =)

  9. What a wonderful tribute to your Nanny.

    I was blog hopping and landed here. Glad I did. Love your blog! Hope you'll pay a visit to mine!

  10. I am so sorry for your loss! Thank you for sharing your amazing stores about your Nanny.
    I understand what you mean in describing her house. For some reason (though it's been decades!), the house I seem to remember best is my grandparent's first house, and I remember it as you do - with a million rooms. It seemed so big. I recently drove by it, and it was a lot smaller than I remembered.
    What a lovely tribute!


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