Remembering Nana

Nana_RunawaysToday, I honor the grandmothers.

As I write, a yahrzeit candle burns on my desk. A yahrzeit (Yiddish for “a year’s time”) is the anniversary of the death of a loved one, in this case my Nana, who died 23 years ago today.

This morning, I found the words I shared at her funeral the next day. They ring as true today as they did then.

February 5, 1992

Dear Nana,

I guess the biggest thing on my mind right now is just how much I’m going to miss you. You have been such an incredibly big part of my life – for all of my life. I have such vivid memories of you as part of my childhood —  always with your delicious “Nana cookies” and your streudel (which I’m so glad you taught me how to bake — I think it’s about time I tried that recipe out again!). I remember what a treat it was to stay over at your house on weekend nights, and how you always made Matzo Meal pancakes for breakfast for Eric and me.

I remember the times you stayed at our house when Mom and Dad went on vacations, and how I used to get into your bed and curl up next to you in the mornings. I remember holidays at our apartment. And I remember you coming over when I was home sick from school and teaching me how to play Canasta while we watched your soap operas. I also remember your being with us when we went to Israel in ’78, and how much that country meant to you.

I told you when I saw you in the hospital Tuesday night that I have reached for the phone many times over the past three months to call you, and only then remembered that you’re not at home any more. I miss our Saturday brunches together, and I miss talking to you on the phone (and your telling me that you never hear from me).

I want you to know, Nana, that I’m okay. I have the two things that you always said were the most important things — my health and my family. And as you know, I have the most wonderful friends in the world, who are also my family. So I know you will be happy to know that I’m happy.

I will always be thankful that you were in my life, and for all the things that you have given to me — I have learned so much from you about being an independent woman, and about fighting for what you believe in.

I miss you now, Nana, and I will always miss you and love you.

Hilary

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