Saturday, August 28, 2010

On A Beautiful Death (Or, A Toast to Rose)

I don't watch much TV, but once I got over my Sex and the City-in-syndication addiction, I moved on to Ghost Whisperer. I am not ashamed to say I love that show. However, I am on the fence about the concept of spirits only remaining earthbound because of unresolved issues. I kind of liked imagining my grandfather and my step-sister watching over me. I'll even confess that when my cats suddenly stare at the air and move their ears, I like to think it's my other dear cats who've passed on. Except that Ghost Whisperer says spirits at peace cross over into the light.

So much for being watched over in good faith.

There are times, though, when imagining a spirit moving on is a soothing thing. I'm reminded of this as I prepare to go to my best friend's grandmother's funeral tomorrow. I was literally born with my best friend (our moms are best friends and conveniently had their daughters eight days apart in the same hospital), so I knew "Nana", as she was affectionately called, all my life.

When my best friend and I were seniors in high school "Pop-Pop" passed away, making Nana a widow. I remember the tears at that funeral and wondering how long my own grandparents would remain in my life. Five years later, I lost both my maternal grandparents. And eleven years after that both my paternal grandparents. (Yes, I thought it strange that both couples passed in the same year.) So by the age of 33, I had no more grandparents.

Now, at 43, I will say my good-byes to Nana, who lived to be 98 years old. I think most people will understand when I say that I'm not sad. I'm not even sad for my best friend and her parents. Don't get me wrong; I feel their loss and know that mourning is appropriate and natural. But when I think about Nana's life, the love she had around her always from her local children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, I feel joy for Nana, and I hope her family does, too. I want to rejoice in the good health that she experienced for the majority of her life. No painful diseases or crippling syndromes to wear down her days. No estrangement from family members she might have wronged. No living to watch her own children or grandchildren die before her.

That's not to say that Nana didn't have her worries and strife. We all do. Especially if we're blessed to live 98 coherent years. She was even lucky enough to have her best girlfriend by her side her entire adult life. That would be "Grandma", my best friend's other grandmother. And Grandma is still with us, which I suppose means Grandma will be one of the saddest people in attendance tomorrow.

So today I memorialize Nana, aka Rose. I send my love and thoughts to my best friend, Suzanne, and her family, and I pray for Nana to cross over so she can be with Pop-Pop.

I also send my prayers to all my blogfriends so that you, too, may be as lucky as Rose and have friendship, family, good health, and a sound mind for as long as time allows. Only then can death be beautiful.


  1. That was beautifully said, Wendy.

    You were lucky to have her. She sounds like a wonderful woman.

  2. You are the best friend anyone could ever ask for!
    You just made me cry - a happy cry, a sad cry, an I'm the luckiest person in the world to have such an amazing best friend cry, an I miss you cry, etc, etc...
    Nana was a wonderful woman that lived a long and beautiful life. She remembered you till the end and how special our friendship has been for the past 43 years! I love you with all my heart! XOXOXO

  3. I like to think of my grandparents watching over me. And then I think to myself that I don't want them wathing over me, for example, when I am singing in the car at the top of my lungs. That is for nobody's eyes.

  4. This was absolutely beautiful. Your Nana must have been a wonderful lady for you to love her so much. Hugs to you!

  5. Very touching, Wendy. My grandparents are in their 90's and I know I am truly blessed to have them around even if we are an ocean apart. My thoughts are with you and your friend and her family as you celebrate Nana's life.

  6. Oh, God...this was so beautiful. You've perfectly captured the essence of a lovely, blessed woman. We can only hope we're all so lucky.

    I tell the boys that it's the flip-side to loving someone fiercely....that you'll miss them just as much. I wish your friend's family the best....and you, as well.

  7. I too am not ashamed to say that I love Ghost Whisperer and I damn near cry every episode. And now so did you post.