I have known Joanna for 7 years. My 3 children were each born, into the loving hands of the same midwife, 1-2 months after each of Joanna’s children. We are incredibly blessed to have Joanna and Steve as our oldest daughter’s godparents. Joanna is my bosom buddy. Until 8 months ago, our family of 5 lived in Vernon. Our blood relations lived 500+kms away. To our family, Gwen and Mike are Nana Gwen & Papa Mike or simply Nana and Papa.
When Joanna asked me to say a few things about her mom, and being enough, I said “of course”. Only being concise is not my forte. So, I have since written several pages in my mind’s eye, each a smattering of all the places and times we have experienced together. I would guess Nana has seen more day to day life of our young family in the last 5 years than our children’s 4 grandparents. It has meant the world to us.
• Early in knowing Nana, I remember her being so excited to cuddle my children on her lap, often reading, or even taking in a live sports game.
• Since then I have tasted a great many delicious gluten-free cakes Nana brought for JC, CC and OC’s birthdays.
• Nana handmade and gifted our family a beautiful beach bag
• Nana invited my parents over for Thanksgiving dinner, when they were camping in the area
• Nana has hung out with my children when I went back to work between mat leaves
• Nana has skied with my children on weekends
• Nana has surprised me with her skill and enthusiasm for paddle boarding, biking, hiking…
Though this may sound like a list of activities or “doing” on a blog all about “being”, in my memory Nana is adept at making these one in the same. I have observed, over and over, how much she just knows exactly how to “be enough” in every moment… seeming to love whatever she is doing, whoever she is with, wherever she is: Disneyland, Hawaii, snowshoeing, snuggling up to read a simple book to her grandkids, or even fighting off wicked flu bugs she caught while taking care of them! When living in Vernon, Kurt and I both felt we could talk to Nana about anything. No matter what troubles arose in life, she always seemed to have this way of shrugging her shoulders, nodding, and without any hesitation saying (or often asking) something simple to knock stress and apprehension down a few notches.
When I asked Daria to draw a picture today for Nana, she drew this beautiful representation of the essence of Nana:
The Heart. Through laughter, shrugging off her own talents, listening to others, asking thoughtful questions, giving to others, and more, I remember Nana through our time in Vernon overall as being genuinely heart-felt in each moment… as if she would be perfectly happy to endlessly continue doing just what she was doing. And in that way of being, Nana has a special easy way of letting her children and grandchildren bring their own uniqueness to the world.
I can hardly believe hospice is Nana’s new home. Like Ang, I do question: why the short time? Yet, I can say honestly from seeing Nana the past 5 years – Nana has already been enough!
She has shared so openly and freely of herself with her children, grandchildren, and everyone (like me) she has met along the way… from the bottom of her heart. What a precious and unique gift. I am quite sure she will continue to bring forth the unique spirits of each one in her family. I know I will always see Nana in their faces.
Nana just has that incredible talent of being there. Listening. REALLY listening. And being enough.