It’s not like the call was unexpected, but it’s never an easy one to receive. On our way to look at some real estate in Indian Land my phone rang. It was 7:45am. It was my father. “This can’t be good,” was my first thought as it was 6:45 Texas time (where my parents live). Sure enough, he was calling to tell me that his mother, my “Nanny,” had passed away in the night. She was 104. No, that’s not a misprint.
The picture you see above was taken last month. I went by to see her to get her signature on some tax forms. By the way, can we please pass a law that when you are 104, you no longer have to file a tax form? I mean, c’mon…how much blood can one person be expected to donate? Okay, that’s an argument for another day. Anyway, it was a Wednesday, “Hair Day” at the beauty shop, and so consequently she was eating a late lunch in her *home’s cafeteria at a table by herself. I strode in, wearing a mask and I still had my sunglasses on. I sat down and said, “Hello there Beautiful, is this seat taken?”
She looked at me and said, “Who are you?”
“Oh yeah? Which one (she has 4)?”
I laughed, pulled down my mask and kissed her on the cheek. To which she said, “You look younger than the last time you were here.” Again, I laughed. As I look back, one of the things I will always remember about Nanny was her dry-aridly dry-acerbic wit. Every time I was around her, she made me laugh…out loud. We had a wonderful visit talking about me, Debbie, our son, my father, our extended family and a couple of other memories. Another cool thing about Nanny was she never “lost her marbles.” At 104, she wasn’t as sharp as she was at 94, but she still was “there.” If you’ve ever had an elderly relative, you know what I mean and what a blessing this was.
After getting the news of her passing from Dad, I found myself reflecting on this visit. Like I said, it was wonderful. And as it was my last time to be with her, it was a good memory to leave on. That being said, the image of her eating alone was so symbolic. I walked away from her thinking about my Granddaddy’s wedding ring that never left the chain around her neck. He’s been gone for nearly 20 years and his loss was a void that was never and could never be filled. Additionally, her parents, two sisters and ALL of her friends preceded her in going Home. As great as it is (I guess) to live to 104 and still have (most of) your faculties, it must have been awful to live with the loneliness she must have felt.
Tears are rolling down my face now. However they are ones of joy, not of sadness. I am so happy for Nanny. You see, she opened her eyes today and found my Granddaddy standing there, arms wide, saying, “Mother, where have you been? Great day in the morning, do you have any idea how many of our family and friends cannot wait to see you up here? C’mon, let’s go!”
Lucy Nance lived through multiple wars, depressions, recessions, global pandemics, and more Presidents than any of us probably have in our wallet right now. She also saw the world transition from horse and buggy to private space aviation and more advances in technology and communication than I can imagine. Lucy Nance was married and wholly devoted to her husband for more than 60 years. They both loved the Lord and their family. Together they raised three children and were blessed with 6 grandchildren and a slew of great-grandkids. In short, she lived a long and prosperous life filled with wonder, joy and Grace. We should all be so lucky. So long, Nanny. Tell Granddaddy I said, “Hi,” and to have the boat gassed up and water skis ready to go when I see y’all next. It’ll be a glorious day with nothing but sunshine and smooth water.
*-Thanks to all the staff at Matthews Glen (formerly Plantation Estates) in Matthews. The love and care you provided my grandmother over the last 2+ decades is immeasurable, and a debt I can never repay. God bless you all.