Thursday, March 29, 2007


When I was growing up, my brother and I often took trips to Saugus to do what we considered visiting my father. Often times, it turned into a weekend of fun with Nana. We would play card games like Rummy, Penny Poker, Skip-Bo, and Bingo. We would do puzzles. She would give us money to go to the store and buy pogs and we would play with her. She would read to us, draw with us, do puzzles with us, make crafts with us and one time attempted to teach me how to knit. She would cook for us, take us shopping, and really just was an awesome person to spend time with.

She's in her late 70's and her health clearly is not the best. In the last 6 or 7 years, she's been in and out of the hospital and a year or two ago was finally diagnosed with COPD and put on oxygen 24-7. From what my aunt has said, she's on a pretty high level and from what Nana has told me she has a hard time walking to the bedroom at night. Once she makes it there, she has trouble sleeping. She's always had arthritis, and it seems to get just a little bit worse every year.

Up until yesterday, she had continually been saying she didn't think she would be able to make it to our wedding. It's just too hard for her to get around and her oxygen tanks don't last that long. Not being a cold-hearted person, I understood this and told her that would be OK and that I would bring her the pictures as soon as they developed so that she could see them.

Last night I went to spend some time with her as I try to do when I can. I went up to her house in Saugus last night where she's lived at least as long as I have been alive, and I'm pretty sure all of her married life (my Papa died when I was 8). She grew up on the hill where her house is; her childhood home is just down the street ("I helped my father build that wall..."). For as long as I can remember the kitchen table has been in the same place and Nana has sat in the same spot. The table and chairs may have changed, but the location never has.

I arrived and she had set up plates for us; the menu for dinner was leftover Chinese food. She had folded napkins, put out a fork and knife for each of us, and taken cinnamon buns out of the freezer for us for dessert. The Skip-Bo cards were out and waiting to be played. We ate dinner and watched "Beverly Hills - 90210". After we cleaned up dinner we dealt the cards, took out our running score from my visits, and played 4 hands of Skip-Bo.

During the game, we talked about the wedding for a bit. It was during this conversation that she asked me a question that took me completely by surprise:

"Does the church where your wedding is have a handicap wheelchair ramp?"

I perked up. "Well, we're not getting married in a church, but the country club where the wedding is has a downhill walkway to the seating and there's an elevator to get to where the reception is."

She smiled. "Oh good. I can't go if there's no where for me to put my wheelchair. I have a hard time walking to the bedroom, but if I can bring my wheelchair that should be great."

I got very excited. It means a lot to me for all of my grandparents to be at my wedding, and I was worried that her health would prevent her from coming. I asked, just to be sure; "I thought that you weren't going to be able to come? You have a wheelchair now?"

She smiled again, bigger this time. "Oh yeah, it's in the other room. If I can bring my wheelchair, I can go."

I smiled, and we continued to play cards. Finally the clocked ticked past 9:00 and with a 45 minute ride home and work today, I had to leave.

"Oh, wait..." Nana said, getting out of her chair. "I want to show you the dress I want to order from the book for your wedding."

She hobbled over to the counter and pulled out the Roaman's catalog. She flipped through the pages until she found the dress that she was looking for and pointed it out. It's a very pretty blue dress, lightweight, with a matching jacket.

"Oh, Nana... that's very pretty," I told her.

She smiled. "Well, the I can get the dress but I can't get the body in the picture."

We laughed, and she closed the book. I gave her a big hug and a kiss before I left. When I got in my car, I had to hold back a quiet tear so I could see to drive home.

I'm so happy. My Nana can come to the wedding!
Current Music: Mr. Big, "Be With You"

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