Saturday, December 19, 2009


I realized this morning that this will likely be my last Christmas with my Nana, my Mom's mother.

The thought of this is unbearable to me.

I truly believe that her cancer is a result of dealing with my grandfather's alcoholism, and later my Uncle's addictions. She is 70 years old, and is not someone who should be dying this young. She has always taken very good care of herself, except of course, emotionally.

The two sides of my family are very polarized on the surface. My dad's family goes to church and does not ever curse. My Nana is pretty much an athiest and curses like a sailor. I used to cringe at this, but now I appreciate her honestly.

I used to think it was unkind to say words like Goddamnit and Bitch, but now I see that it can be just as painful (or more) to remain silent and let the person know passively how pissed off you are. When you say the words, you get it out, and it's over with. When you are silent, the anger remains in the air.

I started thinking about what I could possibly get Nana for Christmas. My family does not spend a lot of gifts and she doesn't really need anything. In the past, I would have just rushed out and bought anything (I really don't like to shop). But now I feel this overwhelming weight of wanting to get the right thing: something she can enjoy this last year.

But what?

Several years ago I bought nearly everyone on both sides of our family a book that they can record nearly everything about their life in. No one ever bothered to fill it out, so it seemed like a waste of money. But my Nana pulled it out several months ago after receiving her diagnosis and began to fill it out with my mom's help.

That will be a gift to all of us.

But what can you give to someone who has given you so much - given her family her life - when you know there isn't much time left?

1 comment:

  1. I think a scrapbook filled with memories, photos, and thoughts from family members would be a great gift for her. We recently did that for a friend of ours who has cancer and he was so touched by it.