Every other March 1st has been a happy day. March 1st is the jubilant end of the vile month of February, it is the beginning of the promise of spring in Calgary, the beginning of my birthday month and March 1st is my Nana's birthday. She passed away in September after two years of slow and gradual change due to dementia. It wasn't a battle or a struggle so much as a long, difficult journey. An endurance test. I like to think things happen for a reason and the only reason I can see for dementia is for the person who has it to let others take care of them finally or for the other people to have the experience of caring for that person. Something must need to be learned from it. I'm still not sure what though. I'm basically still just sad.
Nana and I got along like peas and carrots. We talked almost daily and almost always for an hour and 18 minutes. I didn't talk so much as I listened so maybe that's just about how long it took her to say what she had to say everyday. Nana was known to be bossy, spoke her mind and if she had a critique for you she would not hold back. She had a quick wit and a sharp tongue. We had a fair few fights about silly things usually. She would steal my holey clothes out of my house and repair them and surreptitiously put them back, chop down my bushes when I wasn't home so they would look smart, whatever that means, and give me supreme shit if I had not shoveled my sidewalk right after it snowed. She was also incredibly helpful, thoughtful and generous. I'm not sure how I would have managed with my glamourous singlemom/singleincome lifestyle I found myself in if it where not for Nana. I got a lot of that sort of "you made your bed now lie on it" kind of advice. Lying in your bed is about the last thing you get to do as a single mom :) Nana spent so much time with Aubrey and was always there when I needed her. I was able to go back to school for a year and finish my degree. Nana would pack up 4 year old Aub, a low tech stroller, a bunch of sandwiches and a wet jay cloth in a zip loc bag and go off to Fish Creek for hours at a time. When he was older she would take he and his stinky, noisy friends. She was a saint really.
I can still hardly believe that she is gone. I still think oh I should phone Nan, see what she thinks. I think the whole time you are in hospital and the nursing homes it's almost not real, I think just trying to manage day to day and get through what you have to do takes all of your energy. It took most of mine anyway. I really wish she were here to see Donald Trump as president. The word "nonsense" I think she would use a lot in regard to him. She would also just love Justin Trudeau. We would have lots to chat about these days.
Nana always supported all of my ventures, pursuits, hobbies and pastimes...except drinking coffee of course, tea is the only way to be. She babysat my 3 dogs and 2 cats and one snake for two weeks when she was 90 without batting an eyelash. She would drive she and I to Sunshine to go skiing in a Pontiac in the 70's in a snowstorm. She ate a salad every god damned day. I can only hope to be as independent and fearless as she always was.
I miss Nana more than anything everyday and feel very alone sometimes. I also feel like it's time to make a concerted effort to get back to life, back to my business and back to being happy more often. It's time to surrender the need to grieve, to let go of the idea of loss and accept the fact that everything changes all of the time and I can't control it. We'll see how that goes:)