Featured in Happy Times Monthly, Boca Raton, FL
Wednesday, December 7th, 2005
My grandmother “Nana” has been gone now for almost three
years. She passed quietly on a Thursday evening one
humid night in September. . .
In her day she was a true spitfire. Even beyond her day her
tremendous spirit reins within all of those who came to
Nana was never too busy to lend a hand, go on a trip,
give a kind word or share a bounty of warmth and
kindness from the depths of her heart to whomever she’d
meet. She seemed impelled to urge enthusiasm in others
and don a smile. It is my belief that it was a genuine
need for Nana to see others around her joyful as they
lived their lives. She was the one others turned to,
both family and friends when trouble erupted. Nana not
only had love, she had immense strength of character and
wisdom as well.
Never did I really believe in unconditional love, but I
found that indeed it existed. Nana showed me that in the
truest of souls love is exhibited openly and that it
does exist elsewhere, one must simply seek it out. Nana
displayed unconditional love each and every day; this,
so unlikely from a woman who had endured so much turmoil
and trauma in her own life from a very early age. Yet
with each hardship she persevered. She would look
directly into the face of adversity and say “this too
shall pass” and “if God is for me, who could be against
From the earliest of youthful recollections, Nana was my
saving grace. The one I’d speak with, be encouraged by
and who had the most amazing reassuring embraces. More
than my saving grace, Nana was my hearts smile!
I so looked forward to Nana’s visits on the weekend. She’d
finish work then traverse through the streets of the
Bronx and make her way on the subway system to Brooklyn,
walk a few blocks, than finally arrive at our home. Her
arrival was always anticipated with great excitement.
You’d find me bounding towards the door with a grin from
ear to ear and open arms, to be greeted by the same.
Wrapped up in the warmest of hugs, one could try
On these visits, Nana had goodies in tow; some for me, my
little brother, and for mom and dad and what delighted
me so was that Nana made sure to have extras in the
event a friend might stay the night. Did I mention this
was almost every weekend?!
When Nana moved to Florida, it wasn’t long after that we
followed. Though now it was the bus that would bring my
Nana to me instead of the train. I had missed her so
when she had left New York it was thrilling to know we’d
be in close proximity again.
We would pick Nana up from the Grey-hound bus station; I
knew the schedule from Delray Beach to Hollywood by
heart. As soon as I was old enough to drive, the
schedule became handy. For then, I had the pleasure of
going to get Nana and bringing her home.
Nana’s unending helpfulness and love never waned. Her
neighbors all dropped off their clothes that needed
alterations and Nana would gladly oblige. Nana bestowed
her love generously yes, but she also knew no boundaries
when it came to giving in other areas. I don’t recall
knowing anyone who didn’t feel love for her. Nana had
worked with famous designers and fitters for most of her
adult life and was superb at her craft. Over the years
she had worked with a President or two and many movie
personalities. There were letters of appreciation from
many of these people. I still can’t believe how she was
able to look at a garment in a store, go home and
duplicate it exactly. No pattern, she just did it.
Interestingly enough with all this talent and attention,
Nana was very modest. Her home furnishings were simple
and she did not know the word pretentious.
Nana was forever putting money into the Pishka (a small
box for the purpose of collecting charity) that sat upon
the kitchen counter. Once full, the funds were delivered
to the proper organization, there was the Jewish
Federation, Cancer Society, The Blind, The Appellation
Mission and too numerous others to mention.
Shortly before I was to wed, Nana was in a terrible car
accident. She insisted that no one was to worry, she
would recoup. She had to keep her promise to me, of
making my wedding gown and seeing me get married. She
did it all. She got better, made not only my gown but my
trousseau as well and danced at my wedding. One of my
most treasured photos of Nana is of the two of us on my
wedding day, prior to leaving the house. Nana and I
sitting side by side on the sofa; from the photo it’s
difficult to say who is beaming more.
Nana took ill when I was in my late 20’s; it was my time
to give love unconditionally. Nana came to live with me
and my family and though much of the time it was
difficult, there was something that made it all worth
while. In the evenings when I’d help Nana retire, I
would go to Nana’s bedside to make sure all was well and
say goodnight, she’d look up at me and say “you are such
a dear, thank you for taking care of me, I love you.” As
I sit here writing, tears come to my eyes, for there was
more love and sincerity in those moments than some
people get to experience in an entire life time.
Funerals involve mourners being dutiful and
uncomfortable, doing their best, approaching the family
with the usual words of sympathy, such as “I’m sorry for
your loss “. In earnest it can be said, that was not the
case at Nana’s funeral. The words directed to me were
contrary to the typical. Literally each person I spoke
with said “I loved your grandmother”. So when it’s all
said and done. . .
Love is all that matters. Love is all that remains. Nana