Before I go on using this page to rant about random things, post more on my road trips, or ramble about football, I just wanted to take time to pay tribute to one of the most sweetest souls to ever grace this earth.
My girlfriend’s nana, Hilda McCarthy, passed away last Thursday. I’ve been at a loss for words, and it’s taken me quite some time to figure out how to address this in the most Flemmings Beaubrun way possible. I suppose the best place to start is the beginning.
A year ago, my now girlfriend invited me to a 4th of July BBQ to meet the family. I wasn’t just meeting the parents, I was meeting a large batch of people from BOTH sides of their family. I kind of knew at the time that her nana lived with her, but I didn’t pay mind to it until that day. I was a nervous wreck on the way up, and for the duration of the visit. Meeting a bunch of new people scared the crap out of me, and let’s be real here: I was the only chocolate sprinkle in a big ol’ batch of vanilla ice cream if you catch my drift.
In one of my prior relationships, a close family member didn’t take too kindly to the fact that their daughter brought home a black guy. This helped to spike my anxiety tenfold, so I really didn’t know what an 87 year old white woman would think of me. Needless to say, my worries were erased, and I was humbled real quick. Hilda was one of THE sweetest people I’ve ever met. I remember her inviting me into the living room to chat. I did the best I could not to sweat bullets since she was the matriarch of the family. She was also really chill, and a wonderful person to hang out with. She was very easy to please, happy I was there, and even happier that I made her granddaughter happy.
When I asked about her name, she said I could either call her Hilda nana. If felt strange at the time calling her nana, so I just stuck with Hilda. I would learn later that she didn’t like her name and preferred to be called nana. During visits to my girlfriend’s place, I would often drop by the living room just to say hi. Nana would either be watching “Judge Judy,” “Jeopardy,” or “Wheel of Fortune.” Other times, she’d have the radio tuned into an easy listening station while escaping the world through another book on her Kindle. No matter how crappy I felt on any given day, she had this way of always putting a smile on my face.
She had a few bumps in the road with her health, but she always bounced back the best she could. In the beginning of October, I learned that she was being moved to hospice care. I remember that phone call from my girlfriend like it was yesterday. My girlfriend was practically inconsolable. It was a lot to take in at once. After work the next day, I drove up to the hospice in about three hours of traffic. I remember sitting frantically in my car wondering if I would have the chance to tell her the things I needed to. Thankfully I did.
On Sunday the 7th, there was something in the air. I just had this feeling that it was going to be the last time I ever saw her. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t goodbye, it was see you later. That evening, at her bedside, I said “goodbye nana.”
Sometimes I wish I didn’t say goodbye. Goodbye felt too final for me. What I really wanted to say is thank you. Thank you for being so welcoming, thank you for lighting up my stormy days, thank you for treating me like one of your own. I’m going to miss pulling up to the house, seeing one of your favorite shows on the huge TV in the living room, and knowing you were there. I’m going to miss chatting with you about random things. I’m going to miss it the next time I undergo one of my girlfriend’s torturous workouts and you’re not there to say “don’t be too hard on him now”.
I wish I had more time. I wish I got to know you for longer than I did. I wish many others got to know you. The world needs more people like you, and I hope I can be even half the person you were. I wish I didn’t have to talk about you in the past tense so soon, but it is what it is. Life happens, and you gotta roll with the hits, even the sucker punches.
See you later nana! I promise to make you proud.
Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.