Sophie’s great-grand-mother died today. Rest in peace, Isabel Pryce, my Nana.
Nana was 96 and a death at that age isn’t really a tragedy; it’s expected. Nana had a long life, many friends, fierce independence, indomitable elegance. She even passed away peacefully, listening to music, sitting by a window.
What I feel sad about is that I didn’t know her better. I grew up an 8-hour drive from Nana, but, in my memory, we only made that drive twice during my childhood. Nana only visited us once, that I recall, when I was growing up. She did correspond with us regularly, and as a teenager I used to write her weekly letters that she praised lavishly — but lately I have only phoned her a few times a year, only on holidays & her birthday & any major illnesses.
I never took Sophie to meet Nana Isabel, even though Sophie’s middle name is Isabel, too.
I did get to visit Nana last weekend, when I got to meet many of her friends and even some relatives whom I had never known. I got to hear stories I never knew, from people she had helped who had a deep admiration for her. I am grateful I made that visit and feeling guilty that I didn’t visit earlier. Last weekend, I saw that on her walls were photos of me and my siblings and cousins, lovingly displayed. On her refrigerator, she had a postcard I sent her in 1996, when I happened to be traveling in Cambodia. I had no idea she would save it that long. Her eyesight has been fading for the last decade and so that has been my excuse for not writing, recently. I had not known that she had saved that postcard all these years while I didn’t send her another one.
It’s impossible to change the past, I know. All I can do is work on the present and so I hope I will be able to help Sophie have a closer relationship with all of her grandparents.