It's been kind of quiet over here lately...
From the beginning I've wanted my blog to be a reflection of my walk with Jesus, sharing thoughts and happenings that have softened my heart and brought me closer to understanding a love so extravagant. The past few months have given me plenty to write about, but for some reason my inner well of creativity dried up for awhile.
My grandmother - Nanny - died in February. Her absence left this big hole that, mentally, I was unable to process at first. We were separated by an ocean for nearly twelve years, but the permanance of her death established a distance far greater than that of the Atlantic's length. When you've loved a person, admired them, treasured them, you don't really know how to package all of those feelings away.
Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest times I had to endure - because goodbye isn't one word we whisper quietly before moving on. A goodbye takes days - weeks - to reach completion. My goodbye began with a letter I wrote on Christmas morning:
I've been meaning to write this letter for a week, would you believe...and I can imagine the look on your face when I tell you that it's 7:25 on Christmas morning and instead of opening my stocking, I'm in bed thinking of you.
It seems like so long ago that I charged around 3 the Wold, robbing Paddington of his hat and boots, fluffing up Mr. and Mrs. Bear, and feeding the fish with Granddad. It's those days though, that I cherish...because no matter how strange my new home in the States felt to me, I knew that you had a room waiting for me in the one place I belonged. And when I think about it now, all the times when I felt homesick, and trust me, there have been so, so many, it wasn't England that I missed. I was wanting the opportunity to drive with you along the bendy roads, back to your house, where I felt warm and cozy, had lots of attention, and was spoiled rotten. (You know you've been a wonderful grandparent when your grandchildren tell you that last part :)
And even now, while I desperately want to be with you, it's the memories of trundling along with the red pram to see the ponies, provisions tucked away under the baby blankets, that keep me going. The memories from all our trips - seeing that play together when Samuel and I were there, the countless hours spent in Primark for which I take complete responsibilitiy, and the quiet moments when it was just you and I, they are what I'm holding near and dear to my heart. I'll never forget one evening, it may have been when Mum and Dad were in Paris, when I couldn't sleep. I came downstairs and you made me hot milk and honey, and I asked for a story. You let me curl up next to you on the sofa and read all of Pookie's Christmas Story to me. I kept expecting you to stop at the next page and send me off to bed, but no, you read the whole thing and I couldn't believe my luck. I slept very well indeed that night.
There's something about you, Nanny, which gives me such hope and comfort. It's more than the bond of family...it's the way you've always listened and spoken wisdom into my life. It's the hugs you've given and the silly things, like the smell of your perfume and baking that make you, you. It's the generosity you've shown me, the way you've trusted in your faith, and the incredible example you've given me of what it means to be a Godly woman. I love you so much.
I'm not usually at a loss for words, but remembering all of the ways you've touched my life, and that of mum and dad and the boys has me speechless...the nurturing you've given each of us, and the inspiration that you are is going to be with us always. You've been the perfect Nanny, really, you have.
This holidy, I'm treasuring all of the blessings in my life, and you're one of the biggest. Happy Christmas Nanny with big hugs from your Anne Shirley xoxoxoxo
P.S. One day, when I'm finally ready to write and finish a book, I'm dedicating the very first one to you - for all of the stories you've read and enjoyed, for all of the encouragement you've given me, and for all of the imagination you've fostered in me. And that deserves another big hug for you - so there...did you feel it? xxx
My goodbye reached its end on a Friday in mid February, when, as a family, we scattered Nanny's ashes at the top of her garden. And in the month since, I've healed. I know that she is with a God who took her tenderly into his arms. I know that with the rest of my life I want to honor the woman she was. I know that her hospitality and joy are mine, too. She lives on in me - or so I've heard from numerous people. As I've contemplated life and how it goes on, even when we aren't quite ready to pick up the pieces, I've come to believe that she does live on in me. Through my writing I fully intend to share her spirit with others. She was too beautiful and courageous a woman to have her story go untold. My first book will be a tribute to her - it isn't finished yet, but eventually, I'll get there. Miss you Nanny