I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful women in my family. Yes, they are grandmothers and aunts, but to me, they are so much more than that. In my eyes, I have several mothers, as each woman has treated me like her very own daughter.
Two weeks ago, I lost another mother …
My beautiful nana Margaret.
To me, she was invincible. Despite several falls (literally and metaphorically), nana bounced back after each one.
When faced with adversity, she looked it straight in the eye and vowed to fight on, even when other people would have turned around and given up. She had her days, everyone is allowed those, but she was definitely one of the strongest women I know.
And I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.
I take comfort in knowing that her final day with us was a happy one. We visited her at home to help her move some things around her newly renovated apartment. Just like his mother and I before him, her great-grandchild frolicked on the balcony and driveway calling out for his big nana to ‘watch this’. She took great pleasure in giving him a tour of her home, telling him which room his nana slept in and showing him all the pictures of his mummy and me.
And then we kissed her goodbye, assuring her that we would grill the meal she’d lovingly prepared for us and that we’d see her tomorrow for dinner.
And then just like that, she was gone. Taken way too soon from a family that only nine months ago, lost so much.
I will forever be thankful for the time I was given with her. I know I am so fortunate to have had 28 years with my nana. And I know that I am so lucky to still have three more grandparents with me today. But still, life just doesn’t seem fair.
I will cherish the memories of cooking with nana, from the time I was little on Friday afternoons helping her prepare for Shabbat, to just a few months ago as she helped us prepare for Rosh Hashanah. I will hold close the recipes that she has passed on to us and every time I stir the curry or mix the spices, I will think of her. She has certainly made her mark in my kitchen.
I will say ‘awafi’ as my family enjoys their food and I will always call my children my ‘abdulakanahs’ – the loves of my life. And when they ask me why, I will tell them stories of their nana and big nana. I will make sure they grow up eating her food and when they ask me what it is, I will tell them stories of how I grew up eating my nana and big nana’s food. They may not know her touch or kisses, but they will know her love and devotion to her family, they will know her name and her smile. She has left a loving family behind who in times of both joy and crisis binds together as one big, crazy, devoted bunch of people. A family who already miss her so much.