Two years have gone by so quickly in some respects, even though it seems like just yesterday that we were preparing for her funeral, and flying her great grandson here to bid farewell, and reflecting on who she was and what she meant to all of us.
I have all these letters that people wrote to Nana from the time she first arrived in Canada as a British war bride. They are full of the stories of lives richly lived - someone had a baby, someone else planted a garden, they wrote about the weather, illness, broken hearts, new skirts, and children at all ages. The stories remind me of Facebook updates in many ways, and thankfully they are there minus the scrutiny and comments of others. These letters were written as private thoughts shared by Nana's sisters, cousins, her mom, and at times her own children or my grandfather. They are rich in detail, beautiful at creating images on mind, and they are just As part of the treasures she left us.
As I pour over those letters I can feel the love going into the thin airmail pages. I can smell the years they have spent wrapped up and carefully tucked away. I can rub my fingers along the finely curled words and thoughts, and feel their indentations in the pages. I can sense Nana beside me, remembering the day a particular letter arrived and feeling the pangs of missing family so far away while also sharing their joy, or pain.
Nana was a terrifically resilient woman, and she is an example I hold very close to my heart of hearts. She is someone I aim to be like, right up to those last years spent in a nursing home (although I will gladly skip that part) where she gave the staff a run for their money, even though her wit, her strength, and her determination were slipping away. I miss her stories, even the ones I heard a hundred times, I miss drinking tea at her table with her (although I do have that table), I miss the noisy family gatherings with her there, and most of all, I miss her love.