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My family had been planning the event for months, and this weekend, we kicked it off!  My dad's birthday is tomorrow, and we threw him a surprise party this past Saturday.  Better yet, we had out-of-town family come in (my awesome aunt and uncle came up from Alabama) and both of my sisters came up from North Carolina.  It went so well, and best of all:  Daddy was surprised! 

Dad and girls!
Me, Dad, Sarah, and Mimi

My aunt and uncle arrived Friday afternoon, and gave my dad the biggest surprise of all.  Sarah and her best friend from college, Jami, came up on Friday night before the party, and Mimi and her husband Daniel arrived early Saturday morning.  The party itself was the last of the surprises… we got a big cake, invited many friends, and had a great time. 

While the surprise birthday party went off spectacularly, we could not ignore that my dear sweet grandmother, Eileen, was declining rapidly in her nursing home just down the road.  My sisters and I visited our Nana before and after the party, and it became evident that her time on this earth is coming to a quick close.  She continued her decline today, and we just hope and pray that her remaining time is peaceful and pain-free.  She is just a month shy of 90 years old, and although she is much smaller and more frail, she is so beautiful inside and out.  Her mind left us years ago, unfortunately, but her sweet spirit remains, and she always greeted with a smile and perhaps a glint of recognition in her eye.

My beautiful Nana My beautiful Nana Eileen, seen here on Thanksgiving day 2004. She has that special smile and spark in her eye! She is a wonderful grandmother, and a kind and generous lady. I love you so much Nana, and I thank you for for everything that you have given to me.  I wish you peace.  xoxo

Knowing that my Nana's time is near, I am reminded of the importance of sharing your love and feelings with those around you… we just can't do it enough. 

Update 9.12.06: Nana passed away this morning just before 8am.  She is finally at peace.

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117 Responses

  1. knittingnurse

    I am so glad that everything went so well for your Daddy! Enjoy every minute with him. I miss mine terribly everyday!

    I am also so happy to hear that you have such fond memories of your Nana. Seems like you and your family all take after her!

  2. Kristy

    What a great treat for your dad. I am so sorry to hear about your Nana. I have lost all my grandparents and it is very strange not to have them around. I can see a lot of you in her -I think it’s the eyes that sparkle!

  3. Jody

    I’m am so glad you had a good party for you dad! It must be great to get the entire family together once in a while!
    I can relate to your experience with your grandmother – mine is also in a nursing home and not doing well. I have so many happy memories of our time together though! She taught me to crochet when I was little – so I guess I owe her my love of yarn!

    Hang in there and make sure to cherish the time you have with her!

  4. Mintyfresh

    You managed to bring tears to my eyes! What a wonderful tribute to your Nana, and an excellent birthday celebration for your dad! I spent the weekend honoring family, too; I took my parents out to a nice meal in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary. I thanked them for being them (and for having me, of course!). :)

  5. carole

    love to you, L. I’m sorry about your Nana, but I’m glad your life has been blessed by her presence.

  6. kathy b

    May God Bless your nana. MY Nana is still felt around me all the time, although she has passed on.

  7. elizabooth

    So happy to hear about a nice party for dad and so sorry to hear about Nana. I lost my Grandpa almost 10 years ago (his mind, too, went years before that) and we’re going through a similar thing with my husband’s Nonna now. At least be thankful that your Nana still has her sweetness about her — take that as a sign that she’s a lovely and happy person to the core and that is clearly the ultimate root of her personality (my grandpa got very angry and abusive when the alzheimers came on). Hang in there and know that the love you share with her will always be with you — without a doubt it’s shaped the woman you grew up to be.

  8. Gracie

    Yall are such a cute family! I’m amazed at how much you and your sisters look alike. People say that about my sister and I, but we have a hard time seeing it.

    I’m so sorry that your Nana is not doing well. I hope that she can spend the last bit peaceful and pain-free.

  9. Ginny

    I will be thinking of you at this time. I still miss my grandma, who died in 1996. But I treasure the good memories of spending time at her house and watching her play the organ. I hope (and am sure!) your family will be strong for each other during this time. That’s what helped us.


  10. Suzanne

    Lolly, I will be thinking of you as you get through this time with your family. I have such good memories of my grandmother…
    On another note, you look terrific!

  11. Amanda

    How wonderful to throw a surprise party that really turns out to be a surprise! Look at that picture–you can definitely tell you are sisters. :)
    Sorry to hear of your Nana’s decline. It sounds like you had a very special relationship. May the both of you find peace in this time.

  12. Dorothy B

    A peaceful passing for your Nana. Sounds like you have so many great memories of her. I always think that even when the mind no longer remembers, the heart never forgets. My friend lost her father to Alzehiemer’s last year and even though he couldn’t remember his wife’s name, or why she visited him, he was always happy to see her and stayed calmer while she was there with him.

    Glad your Dad had a great surprise party. Happy birthday to him.

  13. Catrin

    Yet another September Birthday! I’ll hope your Dad have a great day on his b-day, filled with love and laughter. Sorry to hear about your Nana. I hope that she can spend the last bit peaceful and pain-free. I lost my Grannie 2 years ago, and I’ll miss her!

  14. Annie

    Your Nana is blessed to have such a wonderful, caring family. It will be hard to lose her, but it sounds like you will have many happy memories of her. God bless.

  15. The Purloined Letter

    I still miss my grandmother very much. Every time I pick up my knitting needles, I think of her–not with tears but with pride and a big smile. I hope you will be able to look back with the same love and joy. Of course, it hurts so much at first. Even when you see someone suffering after a long and full lifetime, it is still so hard to loose them. We’ll be thinking about you and your family.

  16. Karen

    It sounds like a wonderful party. But I’m so sorry to hear Nana isn’t doing so well. It’s tough to watch loved ones decline like that – even knowing they’ve lived a long and wonderful life. We were in the exact same situation with my grandmother five years ago at this time (because I remember going to see her on 9/11). My thoughts will be with you and her.

  17. Carole

    This had to be a very bittersweet weekend for you, Lolly. You’ll be in my thoughts.

  18. hillary

    Sorry to hear about your Nana. You are in my thoughts. It sounds like your dad had a fantastic birthday.

  19. Allison

    Thank you for you post about your Nana. My thoughts are with you and your family through this time. May you find comfort and strength in each other.

  20. Teresa

    Nana sounds like a beautiful lady. My thoughts are with you and your whole family. Grandparents are such wonderful gifts in our lives, but it sounds like you already know that. I lost my grandma over 7 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. While I miss her so much, my memories and love for her keep her spirit alive.

    Having a loving and close family will help you get through this difficult time, and knowing she is finally at peace eases the pain-even if it is just a tiny bit. Take care.


  21. Amy

    Oh, Lolly, I’m so sorry to hear about your Nana. You are very lucky to have spent time with her so near to her passing. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  22. Cara

    Oh Lolly! I’m so sorry about your Nana, but so glad she’s at peace. I had my own Nana many years ago. She was a fantastic knitter, but sadly a stroke stopped all that before I had a chance to learn from her.

    I’m glad your family was able to be together for a last weekend. Peace to YOU as well.

  23. Ann

    Lolly – my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  24. maya

    What a nice family weekend! But I’m so sorry about your Nana. It’s wonderful, though, to celebrate what a great life she had and what a special person she was. My heart goes out to you.

  25. Claudia

    Oh Lolly, I am so sorry! I lost my grandmother last year, a few days before my birthday. She was the woman who brought me up to the age of 6 and she is the one I owe my love for crafts. It was unexpected and it left us all, especially my mother, very overwhelmed by the sadness and the loss. I can understand what you are going through.

    A big big hug to you and your family, and you are right. She is now at peace.

  26. mrspao

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your Nana is so beautiful.

  27. Jennifer

    Hugs to you and yours for the passing of your grandmother. I’m glad you got a chance to spend a little time with her before her passing. May your memories of her be sweet.

  28. katie

    Such a mix of emotions letting go and yet knowing she is at peace. You and your family will be in my thoughts as I write my grandma a letter today.

  29. Saun

    The surprise party is so sweet. Condolences on your grandmother’s passing.

  30. Joan

    I lost both my grandma’s years ago but never forgot the love and caring they showed me. I am sorry for your Nana’s passing, but I know you will always have fond memories.

  31. Annette

    My condolences on your Nana’s passing.

  32. keri

    My condolences to you and your family, your nana was a wonderful person, you could tell by the sparks in her eyes.

  33. Ruth

    I’m so terribly sorry to hear about Nana. What a wonderful picture you posted … she had quite a spark.

    My deepest condolences to you and your family.

  34. Julie

    I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m happy to hear that you and your sisters visited with her just days ago. I’m sure that she felt your love.

  35. Tonia

    I am glad that you had such a great time at the party and it all went well.

    I am so sorry to hear about your Nana’s passing. It is always sad to see a loved one go even if it is expected.

  36. heather

    I know that your Nana will be remember for her spark and all the love she gave to you all…pixie and I send our very best to you and your family.

  37. Janet

    Rest in peace, Nana.

    I’m sorry for your loss and my thoughts go out to you and your family.

  38. Christy

    Lolly, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May your Nana rest in peace.

    Your post yesterday made me think about my own Gram who died almost 8 years ago. I was terribly sad when she died but one of the most valuable lessons of my life has been that I had no regrets when she died. She knew that I loved her, I knew that she loved me. We had hundreds (maybe thousands) of wonderful memories together. When you wrote yesterday, I got the sense that you feel the same about your Nana. I hope there is some comfort in knowing that you loved her in the best way you could and that she is now at peace.

  39. Catrin

    I’m sorry for your loss and my thoughts go out to you and your family.

  40. beverly

    Oh, Lolly, I’m sorry about your loss. How wonderful that you and your sisters had time with her this weekend. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  41. kelly

    Lauren, so sorry to hear about your nana but how lovely that you have such fond memories and were able to spend time with her recently. glad your family’s party for dad went well…

  42. Sara Kirby

    Dear Lolly,

    I know I have never met you but I am a daily reader of your blog. I just want to share my sympathy for you loss. You were lucky to have you grandmother as long as you did. Most of my grandparents passed away before I was 15. I know envy those whose grandparents live long and influential lives. Your grandmother looked like a lovely woman and I am sure you that you memories of her with last a long time. My thoughts will be with you as you go through the next couple days of putting her to rest.

  43. Kathy

    I’m sorry about your Nana. I lost mine 11 years ago, at the age of 100(!), and she is still in my life everyday. Treasure your memories, and know how fortunate you were to have seen her so recently and to tell her that you love her.

  44. gleek

    oh lolly… my condolences on your loss. your grandmother sounds like she was a wonderful woman. i bet she was very happy to see her granddaughters before she passed. my thoughts are with you.

  45. Renee

    I’m so sorry about your nana – but I’m glad you and your sisters had a chance to spend time with her before she passed.

  46. Stacey

    You guys look so much alike! So sorry to hear about your nana – but it is so great that you were able to see her and tell her how much she meant to you!!!!

  47. Jennifer O

    I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved grandparent. I’m so glad you got to spend time with her.

  48. Kim

    I’m glad the party was a success and sorry to hear about your nana. Hold on to the good memories! She isn’t gone as long as you hold her in your heart.

  49. sUsAn

    Lauren, my condolences on the pasing of your Nana. So glad you and your family were able to spend time with her this weekend.

  50. Kathode Ray Tube

    I’m sorry about losing your Nana. Thank goodness you had her for a long time. May she rest in peace.

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