Category Archives: Nana

Nana’s poetry

My grandmother, “Nana” loved to write poetry, but I never realized this until I opened an e-mail from my mother with the poem below. It is dated February 29, 1988 and was written shortly after our family had visited our grandparents who were at that point spending each winter in sunny Florida.
According to my mother, Nana was always writing poems.  It is amazing to think how much she continues to touch my heart even though she is no longer here. 
Little Drummer Boy where did you go?
The tv is quiet don’t you know
You all left so quickly or so it seemed
We loved all you children to break the beam
Of quiet that’s here or so it seems
And quiet Robbie who is creating a story
And sweet dear Beth who’s doing her own thing
Susan like a record who goes round and round
Helps Tim tap with a rythmical sound.
It really was quiet on the following day
No kids to talk to and show them the way
to keep on loving us we hope and pray
As we love you all every day.

Nana’s 1 year anniversary

It was one year ago today that my grandmother, “Nana”, passed away in her home. She was fortunate to have lived a long life and to see all of her children and many of her grandchildren grow up to be happy, healthy adults.

She is survived by all her children and grandchildren as well as two sisters. Although last May 21st was a sad day, as I mentioned in my blog entry about her passing, previous strokes had robbed her of the life her children and grandchildren had grown accustomed to seeing her live. The memories I have of my grandmother are of her cooking, zipping around Winchester, playing bridge, dashing to or from her winter home in Florida, and too many more to properly list. I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that even though I miss her presence, my memories are fond reminders of the amazing woman I’ll always think of as Nana.

My 2008 Retrospective

One of the reasons I started my blog was to record my thoughts and so as 2008 draws to a close, I wanted to revisit some of the high and low points from the year.
Although there were no visits to Broadway shows in NYC this year, I was able to get out and see the following shows: Spamalot, Avenue Q, Whizzin, The Light in the Piazza, Varla Jean Loves a Foreign Tongue, and All About Eve. Additionally, I went to see both Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin when they visited Boston. I also had excellent seats to see George Michael who put on a fantastic show.

As with most Americans the majority of my travel this year was close to home, but I was able to get away a few times. I started 2008 in sunny, warm Fort Lauderdale. In the spring, I spent a cozy weekend with my entire family on the coast of Maine and later in the summer I spent long weekends in both Newport, RI and Provincetown, MA. I also made a mad dash to NYC to see the US Open in August with my former co-worker and friend Stephanie. This past November / December I visited Brasil and spent time in Belo Horizonte, Buzios, and Sao Paolo. Lastly, I will be leaving tomorrow to say good bye to 2008 from chilly Provincetown. All, told I visited 8 cities / towns and packed my bags for vacation a total of 7 times – not shabby.

In February, I accepted a job to work for a well respected professional services firm and left my job at The Bostonian Group after nearly 4 years of service to the firm. The chance to join the Healthcare practice at this firm was a no brainer and something I have no regrets about but it was difficult leaving an organization where I had made so many wonderful friends.

The most upsetting change in 2008 happened on May 21st when my grandmother “Nana” passed away. Her passing was a forgone conclusion and had been expected for several months but it was still very upsetting and she is dearly missed. I can see how much she is missed in the eyes of her children who have spent the past 6 months learning to cope without their mother.

In June candidate Obama clinched the Democratic nomination making him the first man of color from either party to accomplish such a feat. Five months later he would go on to be the first African American elected to be President of the United States. Finally, after eight years, I felt like reason and intelligence won the day over fear and a desire to elect a President you would want to share a beer with – jeesh!

Other Great Moments in 2008
– Gov. Deval Patrick is one of the first (if not the first) sitting governor to walk in a Pride Parade. He does it to show his love and support for his daughter as well as to show his support for GLBT equality.

– The Red Sox and Patriots season may not have ended in victory but the Celtics accomplish an amazing turn around thanks to the addition of Kevin Garnett and others. Helping the Green Machine crush the LA Lakers (how sweet) and win their league leading 17th NBA Championship title.

– I attended my very first Tennis major by going to the US Open in NYC and was able to see first week matches played by Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. Sweet!

– The Beijing Olympics and Michael Phelps combined for a one-two knock out punch that made the 2008 Summer Olympics probably the most amazing I will ever see in my lifetime.

Thank you for the memories 2008… I look forward to 2009.

This afternoon my grandmother passed away surrounded by her children at her home. It is never easy to say good bye to someone who you love, but her health has been in steady decline and the goal in recent months had been to make her as comfortable as possible.

I am one of the luckier grandchildren because my cousin AJ and I were the first two grandchildren on my mother’s side and for almost 4 decades my grandmother was a constant figure contributing her own verses to each chapter of my life.

I have mentioned my Grandmother in a couple of entries most recently in my entry “One more party with Nana” but also after an emotinal visit with her at the hospital last December, “Visit with Nana in the Hospital“. Time will pass but my grandmother (just like her husband) will always live in my heart and mind. Happy memories of time spent with them at the family home in Winchester and visits to their condo in FL will always be with me.

One more party with Nana

My grandmother’s health has been in decline since she suffered a serious stroke in early 2007 and even though she was eventually moved back into her home in Winchester, her life as I knew it was gone. The trauma to the body from the initial stroke was quite severe and her mortality became a reality that my mother and her sibilings had to face in a very real way for the first time since she had taken a serious fall a few years earlier. Despite making a significant recovery, her body suffered a series of smaller strokes through out the rest of 2007 robbing my grandmother of her ability to live independently.

When I picture my grandmother, I think of a waif-like, tiny woman flitting about town running a list of never ending errands that always made her children and grandchildren pale with concern whenever they heard she was getting into a car. The thought of my grandmother driving (even in her best of days was not for the faint of heart). I think of her in the family house at 8 Girard Road, of her coming or going to Florida, painting, playing bridge, talking about her golf game or friends and family. Perhaps if I’m nostalgic, I think of her with my grandfather, “Papa”, who passed away in the mid-90s.

I visited my grandmother on a beautiful winter day in the Winchester Hospital back in December of 2007. Despite the surroundings, we spent time together reminiscing. Looking especially tiny in her hospital bed but cogniscent of all that was happening, my grandmother and I talked about everything and nothing. Walking out the door that afternoon, I knew I would not have that kind of time again with my Nana. A chapter – an epic chapter for me – would be coming to a close and shortly.

Fast forward 6 months later and my grandmother is still alive, but I’m not sure she is very alert anymore. I read on my uncle Joseph’s blog that all the aunts and uncles assembled at her place in Winchester for one last party with Nana to celebrate her life and their lives together. I think it is incredibly touching and was wondering what my parents, aunts and uncles took away from the evening. I hope they are buoyed by the countless number of happy memories my grandmother has armed them with for this moment. I’m sure at some point in the near future I will be writing about my grandmother in the past tense and it will be an awful moment, but it has been obvious to everyone who loves and cares for her that my grandmother is merely alive these days and no longer really living – at least not how we think of our Nana living.

Visit with Nana in the hospital

My grandmother – Nana – suffered a stroke in February and her health in recent months has been sliding. For weeks my mother has been indicating that Nana has been having trouble focusing and not always been ‘present’. I had not seen my grandmother since I visited her in mid-October. At that time, she looked weak but was still very much aware of her surroundings so when I was told she had suffered another mild stroke earlier this week and had been admited to the hospital, I decided to call in sick and pay her a surprise visit.

The 20 minute drive into the suburbs looked like a winter wonderland and provided me time to contemplate what I would say when I saw her. I was concerned that due to the stroke or medications she might not be alert, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that nothing was further from the truth. We had a wonderful conversation reminscing of stories from the past, talking about family members and the current holiday season.

At times the conversation was tinged with sadness, and it made me realize how very aware she was /is of her mortality. When sadness would enter her voice, I would acknowledge what she said and let her know I shared her sentiments, but I did not let her dwell on the moment or forget about how lucky we both were to have our family so close (both in proximity and emotionally). That was what our morning together was like; conversations about nothing in particular and enjoying our moment alone together. If I noticed she was sad, I would use my humor or wit to lift both our spirits.

However, when it was time to leave, I could not help but notice that the vivacious grandmother I knew most of my life has in recent years seen her spark dim. My grandfather passing away a decade ago followed by an accident a couple years ago that resulted in her taking a bad fall and now most recently her faltering health has changed the grandmother I have known most of my life. Today’s visit made me long to be back in my grandmother’s house like when I was a child. My memories of those years bring me tremendous comfort, and I will continue to wrap them around me like a thick blanket to ward off the cold feeling I had when I turned my back to leave her room in the hospital earlier today.