My Nana is one of the strongest women I know. She put herself through night school at a young age so that she could become one of those nurses that takes care of babies. Her husband died when their youngest child was only 12, and she raised all three kids, kept the house, and kept everything running smoothly all by herself.
She’s outlived many of her friends and almost all of her immediate family. She’s had a number of very serious surgeries and come through even when everyone around her was convinced that there was no way she could do it.
She quit smoking cold turkey.
She is a scrappy little old Jewish lady from New York who is the clear matriarch of my family. She is the baker of brownies and pistachio cakes and the organizer of Sunday brunches. She is the definition of a fag hag and all of our gay family friends are her “boys.”
She is incredibly independent and stubbornly remains in a house determined to continue to live by herself. She believes strongly in always speaking her mind, sometimes to extremes.
She taught me the tools of a trade that have since become my passion – knitting and crochetting.
She is a warm, wonderful, woman with a spark I have yet to see the like.
She loves butterflies and has an incredible green thumb. She can make anything grow.
She called me two days ago, right before Radiolab Live started. I didn’t pick up. I called back the next afternoon, but it was already too late. I received a phone call from my father that evening telling me that he was just coming back from the hospital. Nana had fallen and broken her hip. She was heavily sedated and in a lot of pain. He called me again today to tell me that there had been complications with her kidneys. They’re going to see if they can do the surgery early this week, but they can’t until she’s doing better.
I’m really scared. I know I don’t call her as often as I should, but I can’t imagine life without her.