I fully admit to all who ask that I signed up for the New York City Marathon on an emotional whim, it was March of this year and I was alone in my apartment a few weeks after losing my grandmother. I was at a loss for how I was “supposed” to be reacting. I felt completely alone, even though I was surrounded by a multitude of supportive friends and family. I felt the need to do something cause the emptiness was eating at my core. After clicking submit on my submission, I forgot about it. I felt accomplished, I had done something and at least it was a step forward. This reprieve lasted till the day I opened my email to read the one subject line I was not emotionally or physically equipped for “Congratulations! Welcome to Athletes to End Alzheimer’s New York City Marathon Team.”
I am now five months into my marathon training and 27 days away from race day. I am still intimidated by the number 26.2, but the key difference between now and when I applied is I believe I am going to cross the finish line. I am going to run 26.2 miles for my Nana!
My grandmother, Nana was true New Englander who married a wonderful Southern gentleman and never quite fit in down South. The issue was she would always let you know her opinion. Whether it was popular or not, she spoke her mind outright and that is not really the Southern way. But her heart was huge!! Everyone who crossed path with
Nana has heard her brag about her children or grandchildren; we were her greatest accomplishment in life! She was always happiest up in Nantucket surrounded by family every summer. She would take walks down the same road super early every morning, so she could be back by the time all of us kids were awake. She would spend hours sunning her in the yard, so she could be right in thick it. She never wanted to miss a beat. She hosted Sunday morning pancake breakfast for all us grandchildren every week, originally she would make the pancake batter where all you added was water and it kind of tasted like cardboard. Though if you added enough syrup it was totally edible. As we grew old enough we began to cook with her (or at least us girls did) and Sunday pancakes improved first to the boxed pancakes where eggs and oil are required and finally to making them from scratch. It was a tradition!
When I was in middle school, she had dial up Internet installed into her house and bought a computer, so she could teach herself how to use it. She knew that the world was changing and the best way to keep up with her grandkids was through the Internet, so she determined to learn. For months, I would receive emails with only a single word or sentence cause she had pressed send to fast, but she determined if it took her 10+ emails to get her story across she would send them all. Eventually she got the hang of it and really did keep up! She still loved sending us grandkids snail mail and you always knew it was from her, because she would never write anything or sign the card. Sometimes there would be a smiley face and other times it would be completely blank, it wasn’t because she forgot. She always wanted to leave the possibility for you to share this card with someone else and make him or her smile too.
I could go on with endless stories about her quirky, loving nature like the butter and sugar sandwiches she used to send to school as lunch for my mom (yes, you read that right just butter and sugar) or her lifesaver game, but I should probably stop as I’m starting to cry. I miss her often and I still can’t process all the future milestones in my life that she won’t be a part of. Nana, thank you for teaching me to speak my mind, live life with passion and love your family with all your heart (even when they drive you crazy)!! I love you Nana!