"We'll be descending into San Diego in abourt fifteen minutes. The weather is a balmy seventy-five degrees and the winds are coming in from the north. Hope you enjoyed your flight and next time you fly, we hope you fly us..." the pilot's sing-song voice droned on. Coming home to San Diego was bittersweet.
Looking out the window I remembered the first time I flew, my grandmother Nana had taken me to Disney World in Florida. Disneyland was closer but Nana said she wanted me to experience flying and she admitted to wanting me all to herself. I had been a little afraid but Nana had said to hold on to her and everything would be fine. Nana always made everything fine. I was the youngest child in my family, my other three siblings were rambunctious boys. Nana loved all her grandchildren but she had doted on her "Princess Rebecca". Nana was the one that I shared my tea parties and played dress up with. Ours was an unique relationship, we loved to laugh and have fun. I was always a bit of a jokester so I loved trying out my knock knock jokes and riddles on Nana.
Nana had been my confidant throughout my adolescent years and even when I went away to school in Boston. When my husband Vic proposed I did not consult my girlfriends, I called Nana. Marrying Vic would mean moving all the way to New York and starting our lives there. Nana had told me to follow my heart and believe that no matter where I was God was there with me. Although I missed my family, Vic and I had had successful careers and were now thinking of starting a family.
It amazes me at how fast the years passed. I only returned to San Diego to visit periodically and recently Nana had seemed to be mentally drifting a little. My mom called and said that Nana could no longer live alone and they had brought her to live with them.
"Please come Becky." my mom had pleaded. She said, "I hate seeing her like this, if anyone can reach her, I know you can."
I dropped everything to come home. In the car with my Mom, she explained that it was actually worse than they had let on. Nana seemed to be leaving us more and more everyday. She was down to monosyllables. Some of which no one knew what she was trying to say or if she wanted something.
Coming into my childhood home a rush of emotions overtook me, the same comfort smells and that feeling of safety that would always be a part of me. Hugging my father I felt like the little girl from long ago.
"Where's Nana?" I asked.
"In her room upstairs, she seldom comes out". Dad said. "This disease is more devastating to me than having her have a physical disease. That's my mother who at times doesn't recognize me."
I could see the tears in my father's eyes. "I know Dad."
As I went up the stairs, I prayed that God would do something, or give me something to say to bring Nana back.
I knocked on Nana's door.
"Who's there?" a weak voice said.
"Banana who?" the voice said with more interest.
"Orange who?" there was now a hint of laughter in the voice.
"Orange you glad I didn't say banana?" I said laughing as I burst into the room.
There was Nana with her arms opened wide. I ran into them and it was just like old times. We laughed, hugged and shed a few tears together.
Nana said "Becky I'm so afraid. Where have I been? I missed everyone, especially me.
"I know Nana, but hold onto me, everything is going to be fine." I said and silently prayed that somehow it would.
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