Sunday, March 21, 2010

In Loving Memory

Today we celebrated my sweet Nana's life at her memorial service. Here are my favorite memories of her that I shared at the service today.

From as early as I can remember, I often sat on Nana’s lap while she rocked and sang me to sleep. With her right leg over the arm of the chair, no less. I think I begged her to rock me until I was at least 7 or 8 years old, but eventually I got too heavy and too old. That was one of my earliest and favorite past times.

I looked forward to our family vacations at Nana and Papa’s home in Florida every Christmas. We ate at some of the neatest restaurants, shopped ‘til we dropped and always played lots of games. It was quiet and relaxing. And great memories were made over the years. 

I had the privilege of staying with Nana and Papa for 6 weeks in the summer when I was 14 years old. We had a ball. In fact, I had so much fun that I didn’t want to leave. I mean, who wouldn’t when you’re getting spoiled for 6 weeks straight?

I will always remember our daily lunches at Ryan’s Steakhouse and our afternoon milkshakes at Dairy Queen. Nana knew every waitress by name and frequently told them she would be praying for them if they were going through a particularly rough time. 

We went to the local mall and did a lot of window shopping. Every once in awhile, Nana would give me some of her spending money and let me pick out something for myself. She loved giving to others.

I enjoyed our neighborhood bike rides. They were usually fairly long as she told me the names and life stories of each neighbor as we rode by. It was obvious that she loved people and people loved her.   

I learned that Nana did not like taking naps. She liked sleeping in and staying up late. It was fun being night owls together.

She loved playing Rummikub and Mexican Train. She was competitive in her own quiet way.

She gave the best foot rubs.

Nana always treated herself to one Coke a day. Not diet or caffeine-free. Just “the real stuff,” as she would say. And don’t forget about the chocolates. Or cheesecake, for that matter. 

She loved to read. Whether it was an inspirational book or the newspaper, she enjoyed reading. She also enjoyed watching her favorite soaps from time to time.

She was a gifted and talented pianist in her own right. She taught herself how to play the piano at an early age, but you would have never guessed she was self-taught. She had a true gift of playing the notes by ear while singing her favorite hymns. It was beautiful to hear.  

This woman was the queen of vitamins. I tell you, she must have consumed at least 50 vitamins a day. Some of those I had never even heard of, but she did and she could give you a full description of each one if you had the time.

She was a bit of a neat-freak. As most of you know, Nana and Papa’s house was totally spotless. There was never anything out of place and if there was, it wouldn’t be there for long or it would get thrown away. Your bath towel would get washed and put away before you even finished drying off in the morning. And floors would often get cleaned by hand. It was amazing how much their house was like a well-oiled machine. 

Most importantly, Nana loved the Lord with all her heart. She went to church every week and memorized Scripture daily. 

One of her favorite passages of Scripture was Psalm 23. 

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Nana was such an encourager. She wrote to numerous people on a regular basis. Her weekly letters were interesting and always made me laugh.

She was a valiant prayer warrior. No matter what was going on in your life, you could count on her to be praying for you. Even in the middle of the night.

She had a fantastic memory. She could remember names, addresses, dates, birthdays and life events for years. 

She had a great sense of style. She was impeccably dressed and her hair and makeup were just so.

She had the prettiest painted nails. And they were all natural too.

She was extremely careful in protecting herself and those whom she loved. She was the one who taught me to hold a car key in between my fingers when walking to my car in the parking lot and she’d say, “Don’t be afraid to use it and make sure to get ‘em where it counts!”

It was funny to watch her and Papa call each other “buttheads” from time to time. That was Brian’s influence, by the way. And she loved it.

She was wise, tenderhearted and patient. She was a true Proverbs 31 woman.

She was committed to her family. No matter what. 

She loved unconditionally and didn’t expect anything in return.

She put others first and served them with joy.

She was a strong woman. She battled liver cancer for over 15 years without chemotherapy. And she had a pacemaker placed in her chest several years ago. Some didn’t think she would make it, but she proved them wrong time and time again. Then, God called her home.

What an amazing testimony. A legacy left behind for us all.

A Godly wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

Our Nana.

We loved her dearly and will miss her so.

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