>My Nana


Nana, myself, Grandpa Ted

My Nana, my great-grandmother, Bernadine Irene, will be 95 years old next month. 95. She’s outlived many people in her family, including her first husband, five out of six siblings, her son and her grandson-in-law. She stands at barely five feet tall, with a shoe size of 4.5 (I asked her one time). There’s not a mean bone in her body, and back in the day, she was quite a looker. (Some say she’s where I got my curves…)

The man on the right is my great-grandfather, Ted. Technically he’s my step, but they’ve been married since way before I was born. My real great-grandfather died of heart failure in 1957. Grandpa Ted is Polish, and came from Chicago. He didn’t learn English until he was about 10 years old. He’s also a veteran of the Second World War.

I remember going to their house when I was little, and of course it seemed much larger than it does now. We played on the deck, ate warm tomatoes from the garden, and explored the field behind the house which is now a built-up subdivision. I helped Grandpa Ted rake leaves.

When I got older, we’d spend more time chatting and reminiscing, always over a cup of Folgers coffee. She always had her hair done, nails painted and makeup on. She says the reason her skin is still so pretty now is because she wears moisturizer every day.

Aaron and I went to visit yesterday. Those two were at the top of our list for visits. We had a nice time, and Aaron and Grandpa Ted talked a lot about the military. While Nana has a hard time getting around (although she still passes her driver’s test!), she is completely coherent. I can’t imagine what it must be like to look back on that many years… many people are lucky to have lived a fraction of that. I mean, it’s almost a century. That is an amazing accomplishment. What must it feel like to look into the eyes of your great-great-granddaughter (my cousin’s daughter Adeline)? Five generations… Nana is 40 years older than my aunt, and 70 years older than me.

As we were getting ready to leave, we hugged and kissed. She squeezed my hand and I realized that may be the last time I see her, or him, alive. It’s very possible. However, I’m confident they know Jesus and so I feel a peace, even now. But there was a look in her eye that she was thinking the same thing. I can only imagine what that is like, and pray for such a long life.

I am so blessed with having had my grandparents and great-grandparents around. Currently, I still have three grandparents alive, and two great-grandparents.

I love my Nana.

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