Discover more from The Hue-Man Experience
"Dear Nana, I love you."
#67 - Remembering that sacred day.
“At the end as at the start, and through all the in-betweens, I love you.”
Last week's conversation with Joanna Sullivan brought a story out of me. A sacred story which lives closest to my heart.
When talking about Death Doulas, a memory flashed, and suddenly I was again sitting next to my beloved Nana as she passed on to the next realm. It felt as if I was transported through time.
Joanna graciously allowed me to tell the story of that day, and as I did, tears welled beneath my eyes.
I drew a deep breath through my nose, mentally asserting, "Don't cry on your show", as I told her about finding Nana's vacant pulse that night. And those tears tugged at my eyelids, begging to spring free.
I don't know why I stuffed them down. Wouldn't crying have been the most Hue-Man thing I could have done in that moment? I certainly felt the need to, but I breathed through it, bent on staying as composed as possible through the story.
After our call concluded, I felt cleansed. Like a pocket of shadows in my heart had just seen light for the first time in years. It felt good to talk about that experience out loud.
I flew from my workstation, across the studio, and into the depths of my old laptop's hard drive. I had to find that sacred file I told her about.
And in only a moment of searching, I found it. Its title, "Dear Nana, I love you".
And as I read through it, the dam of my eyelids crumbled, and those pent up tears rushed like a river, painting my face with love.
The following excerpt is the writing I found in that sleeping document, brought back to life in Her memory.
9.6.19 – 10:41pm
What a wild thing this life is. At this very moment, I am sitting in a wheelchair next to my Grandmother’s bed as she slowly prepares to leave this earth.
We’ve all known this has been coming for quite some time, but I have to say, I am really going to miss her in a way that I don’t think the rest of my family will understand.
I mean, of course they will understand, but in their own ways, from their own perspectives. Mine is different based on our history.
I saw the most human version of my Father and Uncles I have ever seen, today. We all sat together, around Nana, and when I looked into their eyes, I saw a trio scared boys. They know at anytime they will lose their mother, and their knowing paints their faces with quiet grief.
Three vortexes of emotion, each with his own storyline, and one connected through the others. They revealed themselves in ways perhaps they didn’t even comprehend—it was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. A glimpse into the raw emotion of temporary living.
I thank them for showing that vulnerability, because it reminded me that despite how we each present ourselves, we may feel in other ways contrary to what we display outwardly.
I thank them for sharing the rawness of their love. And for teaching me the way.
Today has been a reminder of my humanity. Of our family humanity.
While everyone else has their own stories tied up in Ellen Jane, I don’t have a bad memory associated with her. She was perfect to me in every way.
I can’t remember a single time she got mad at or reprimanded me. She always told me, since the day I was born, I was her favorite and her "number one".
And you know what—I believe her. I always have. She was always in my corner, and now I’m in hers when it matters most.
Nana used to tell the story how when I was a youngster, She would rescue me from daycare, everyday. And then She’d take me walking through my neighborhood, saying hello to everyone.
She wistfully recalled being a proud Grandma on the prowl, showing me off to the world. She said I was her treasure.
And every time she told me that story, I felt her genuine love wrap me all around.
And somehow, now, the blink of an eye later at 32 years old, I sit by her side to say goodbye.
I’ve been grieving our loss of this amazing woman for 4 months now, ever since our daily calls stopped, due to that first fall. The one that set this all in motion.
Losing the ability to talk to her every day felt like losing a piece of my heart. But it helped me get ready for this moment, didn't it?
“Nana. This is Sean—I’m staying by your side and I’m not going anywhere. It’s ok for you to go now. I love you. We all love you so much. And we will all be OK. I promise I will see you again later. Tucker is here too, and says thanks for all the biscuits.”
I just checked to see if she’s breathing, and honestly right now I can’t even tell if she's still alive or not. She was breathing so loudly earlier, but now she's silently sleeping.
I felt for a pulse, was that the faintest blip of life leaving? I can’t tell if her heart is still beating—it’s so faint I can’t even feel it in her neck or wrist. Is my mind playing tricks on me?
Ok, no. She’s gone. Wow. Nana, I love you.
Is it wrong that even though you just died next to me, I don’t want to tell anyone yet. I’d rather just wait until someone comes back in here to check on you in the next hour.
If you’re really gone, then I still don’t feel ready to say goodbye yet, so perhaps we could sit here together until they come. Will they take you away from me immediately when they come?
But how could this be enough time to say goodbye?
When is there ever a good time to say goodbye to someone we can't imagine living without?
When is it ever a fair time to die?
I'm putting the computer away for now so I can be here in this moment. I need to call Dad.
I love you so much, Nana. You are free.
I’ve made it back to SF at this point. Sitting at home with Tuck.
In, out. Just breathing.
I saw my father blossom like a flower today. He’s so full of love.
So full of love.
I’ll See You Again.
Joanna also talked about the idea that when we pass on, pieces of our energy remain within everyone who we love. How nothing is ever lost, but transferred to a new form.
When I think of Nana these days, I can still see the catchlights in her shimmering eyes. And I can still feel the Colorful Love she showered me with.
I still miss our phone calls, yet I never lost her essence. Because every time I call to her, she visits to remind me of what’s important. Her living memory swells warm waves which wash my heart.
Her love will never die. I carry it with me, gently bending pieces off to give to you.
Her love is the torch I hold to find my way in the dark. I see it sparkling in Juice’s eyes.
I used to think I had to say, “Goodbye”, but that always felt like the wrong word.
I much prefer to say, “I love you, and I’ll see ya again later”.
If you cried along with me, you’ve now got to pay the toll by becoming a paid subscriber. Hey, I don’t make the rules. Ok, wait, I guess I do.
The Full Story can be heard below, in last week’s Podcast.
Thanks for being here. And thanks for being you.
More stories next week <3