As some of you are aware, our beloved Nana passed away at the beginning of August. A very difficult time for our family, and a grief that we continue to grapple with on a daily basis. Although such a private experience, we feel a need to share our loss - out of our love for Nana and the influence she had on our lives, but also because it feels almost wrong for life to be continuing as normal without trying to somehow acknowledge, tribute or respect her and the life she led.
|Nana (aged 5, second from the right) with her siblings|
For the first time in our lives, stories about our Nana do not come easily. They're too painful. But we can share a few qualites that we adored.
Nana was incredibly strong and independent. Born in 1917, as like many from her generation, she witnessed great tragedy, revolution and change over her lifetime. She saw the world during and after the war, had saved the newspaper article about the first man to land on the moon, and sadly lived through the recent devastating earthquakes in Christchurch. Through it all, she remained an optimist and lover of life. She kept up with new trends, and had recently lamented that she hadn't learnt how to send a text message.
She was generous in spirit, and yet so sensible with her finances. She loved cups of teas and being a host for her visitors. She adored her little home, and literally had thousands of photos around her documenting her life. She had a wicked sense of humour, and a quiet bravery and pride that never left her. She cherished and kept old letters and cards from loved ones. She was the absolute best at crosswords, yet was frustrated by the new challenges of Suduko!
She taught us the loyalty of everlasting love. Having lost our grandfather after only 12 years of marriage, she remained loyal to him for the remainder of her life. We will never forget the twinkle in her eye when she spoke about what a wonderful husband and father he was, and how much she looked forward to their reunion one day.
|Nana and Grandad on their wedding day|
Our joy of handwritten letters can be tributed to Nana, as it was as little girls that we learnt to write to her and then excitedly await her letter in reply. We learnt the manners and gratitude in writing a thank you note after birthdays, and are so grateful to pass this on to our own children. We continued this tradition of writing to each other in adulthood, and in recent years would read Nana's letters aloud to our husbands and children over dinner. We have saved most of these letters...precious memories of our relationship.
Nana was always supportive of our personal and professional adventures, including presse-papiers. She had recently asked us for a 'price list' so that she could buy some paper goodies for herself, but we know really she was just trying to support us! She was forever encouraging, and we feel so fortunate that she shared so much of our lives as adults. She was always bragging about her grand children and four little great grandchildren to neighbours, friends and anyone else who would listen. Her family was her life's proudest achievement.
|Nana and her sister Myrtle at the races|
She loved chatting, and shared stories about her life non-stop. We wish now that we had bottled up these memories and conversations as a way of holding onto her voice, her kindness and her contagious laugh. Even now, it still doesn't feel real that we won't hear her voice again.
|Nana on her 90th birthday|
Today would have been our Nana's 94th birthday. This date has been etched into our calendars and thoughts our entire lives and it feels wrong to have not sent a gift or called for a little chat. And so we write this post as a birthday gift for her, and perhaps for us as a first step towards once again being able to share her story without tears.
We miss you every day Nana, all our love xx