In Memory of Nan

On this day, 9 years ago, Nan crossed the bridge. I’m grateful that she was a physical part of my life for 23.5 years. She held my hand walking me to school, she dried the tears, gave comforting hugs and kisses, held me close, taught me how to cook, knit/crochet (didn’t quite catch on), listened with empathy, and encouraged me.

I am grateful for the lessons she taught and I’m grateful for who she was. Nan was kind, always helped people, and always had her door open to people. When I was 2, she agreed to house a foreign exchange student from Slovakia. Daniel lived with us for five years, he became an older brother to me, and even after he moved to NYC then LA, he continued to visit us. Daniel and I still keep in touch.

Last year during Passover, Rabbi Roni held a salon to talk about the story of Moses. Part of the tradition of Passover is opening our doors to strangers and inviting them in to be part of the meal. Rabbi Roni said, “in this day and age, this is hard to come by.” She let me speak and I told her about what Nan did for Daniel. She extended it to most people too. She smiled and I smiled. Although Nan wasn’t Jewish, she was Catholic, I believe that the core of every faith have the same tenets. Welcome people and don’t judge.

Nan had a lot of Jewish friends (as well as friends of all faiths), so maybe she learned a thing or two from her friends. When I was a practicing Muslim, she learned a lot from me. I know she would be learning a lot about Judaism from me now. She accepted me for who I am and was curious enough to learn about my journeys. That’s another thing: she allowed me to be curious and reminded me that we never stop learning or growing until we die.

Anyway, I believe that these experiences created who I am and Nan always reminded me, “we are all human. We may have some differences, but our cores are the same. We all bleed, we all need love, we all need water, and we all feel emotions.” I never forgot that. Thank you, Nan, and thank you for allowing me to become the person I am today.

Thank you for the memories and while they are bittersweet, I love walking down Memory Lane. I’m grateful you were physically part of my life for 23.5 years and I know that you are still by my side.

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “In Memory of Nan”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    As you have done in years past, you put together a wonderful tribute to Nan, a person who was a tremendous influence in your life, a woman who guided and nurtured you from early childhood, and was responsible for instilling the values and beliefs that make you the fine person you are today. In that way, Nan has not left you. She is still with you, inside of you, a part of you. These vintage pictures tell the story of happy moments spent in Nan’s presence, learning from her and basking in her love. There are so many things you have told me about Nan that I admire. Yessum, too many people have forgotten or choose to ignore the core tenets of their religion. They don’t welcome people and they do judge people. The world could use more people like Nan who walk their talk.

    I enjoyed the song your posted on this occasion by Flogging Molly, an LA-based Irish-American Celtic punk band. Bless you for remembering and honoring a great woman and powerful force in your life, your beloved Nan. I’m sure she thanks you for this outstanding tribute.


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