To My Nana


Death is a hard topic to speak about. I’d argue that it’s hard to write about as well, but I’m one of those people who thinks that writing about those types of topics is helpful and speeds up the healing process. On Friday, my grandmother passed away. Although she is no longer with us, the memory of her will live on in our minds and hearts. For me, there are always a few specific things I associate with each loved one on in my life. Whether it’s a scent, a certain food or a hilarious holiday memory, each of these things will always remind me of that person.

The first thing I will always associate with my Nana is the scent of Trident gum. Growing up, getting to chew gum was this odd and exciting event. My mother hated gum, so it was rarely in the house. When my brother and I would spent days playing at my Nana’s house in the summer, we would always raid her cabinets to see which flavors of Trident gum she had for us. I distinctly remember the smell- the spicy cinnamon or cool spearmint- and how I always looked forward to it. Each time I smell or chew a stick of Trident gum, I will be reminded of my Nana.

Speaking of raiding her cabinets, I still laugh to this day remembering a specific time my cousin Nicole and I made her “soup”. I put the word in quotations because the concoction we made was far from soup, let alone an edible mixture. On this particular hot summer day, we ventured out to her garden to find a base for our soup. My Nana grew rhubarb in her backyard, and we loved the almost-sour taste of it. We bit the roots, sucked out the juice and spit it into a container (we were probably 10 years old here, so excuse the grossness). We added some water for the base and then added all our other ingredients- aka anything and everything we found in her kitchen. This included, but was not limited to, various flavored extracts and spices like cinnamon. We mixed everything together and presented it to her, not expecting her to actually try it. But she did. She took a couple spoonfuls and told us it was delicious. What a trooper.

By now you can tell my Nana was a good sport. One of the other fun activities she let us do was give her makeovers. My cousins and I would go through her purse and take her powder and cake it on her face and apply her lipstick heavily from the tube. We’d try on old jewels from her jewelry box upstairs and laugh as we saw the finish product. The poor woman probably had to take 3 showers just to wipe all the makeup off, but we had a blast. I still remember the scent of her pink lipstick and face powder to this day.


The last thing I will always remember about my Nana was her sense of humor. I’d like to think that I got some of my sarcastic wit from her. She loved to roll her eyes when her husband (my Papa) talked too much or make offhand comments about the characters on the soap operas we would watch when nothing else was on TV. She was very petite- just like me- so we would try on each other’s rings to see who had the smaller fingers. Nana always had certain sayings and jokes she would recite when I visited her, so whenever I hear those repeated by someone else, I will think of her.

It will be hard to see Derek Jeter (her favorite baseball player), complete a crossword puzzle in the newspaper (one of her favorite hobbies) or see someone enjoying black coffee (she drank many cups a day) without remembering my Nana. But I’m going to relish in those memories and smile, knowing she is looking down on all of us.


  1. So sorry for your loss Rachel. Your nana seemed like a great lady and I think it’s nice how you shared these memories of her. Thinking of you today.

  2. *hugs* i’m so sorry for your loss, Rachel. hold on to those memories. years from now when you talk about her, it will always be with a smile 🙂

  3. Your Nana sounds like she was an amazing woman. I’m so sorry for your loss but I’m so glad that you have such happy memories of her to look back on when times are hard. xoxo

  4. Meus sentimentos. Todavia, sua coragem em falar da perda pessoal (Nana, que carinhoso!) mostra a importância da conversa no dia a dia das pessoas. Falar a respeito dos nossos obstáculos diários faz bem para você e para quem lê a sua breve história diária. A sua Nana sorria, você nas fotos está sorrindo e agora é continuar a sorrir sempre que possível. Se não der para sorrir sempre, então ria da situação. Rir, abraçar, beijar, fazer amigos, perdoar, amar, brincar, aprimorar, resumem tudo aquilo que a sua Nana fez. Faça o mesmo!

  5. Rachel, I’m so sorry to read about this today. I find that it does help to write or talk about exactly how you feel in order to move on and remember the one who has passed for their beautiful life instead of the sadness of their death. A friend of mind was killed last year by an irresponsible driver when she was waiting at a bus stop. It was so sudden and unexpected. I was numb about it for a few weeks, even at the funeral, before another friend of mine finally asked what was wrong. Wow, I had no idea that all I needed was to cry and get it out of my system! Remember her for how she enhanced your life. That’s the part of her that will live on. Most importantly, continue to live your life so that others will look back at all the love you brought into theirs.

  6. So sorry for your loss! This post was a beautiful tribute to her and a great reminder that it really is the little details about someone that we miss the most – I wrote a post about that idea a few months ago (, and think you chronicle some really special “details” here about your grandma. Hope you and your family are sharing some fond memories as you remember her during this tough time.

  7. I am so sorry for you loss Rachel and really admire you for sharing such personal and touching memories of your grandmother.

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