Rest in Peace

Four years ago today I received the worst kind of phone call a person can get.  My Grandmother called to let me know that my Great Nanny had passed away earlier that morning.  She had been in the ICU of our local hospital after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week.  When she realized it wasn’t going to kill her instantly, she called my grand parents and they had her taken to the city by ambulance.  Her biggest fear in her twilight years was to be a burden on the family.  It was a natural reaction, after seeing her husband Edrick suffer from Alzheimer’s.

I remember seeing my GP on the Friday before she passed, and mentioning I was worried.  He asked me her name, and turns out he was her attending physician.  Thanks to him I was able to see her Saturday (when ICU is closed to anyone but immediate family).  Nanny had met with the priest and I suppose that should have been an indication to me she knew she was not long for this world.  I guess being 21 I wasn’t thinking about her not coming out of the hospital of her own volition.   She was so strong and stubborn, I was starting to get the impression she would never die.  She outlived her siblings and some of her children (and sadly, grand children)…she was active right up til the end and did her best to be self sufficient.

The funeral was hard.  I’d never been to one before, just memorial services.  It’s a heartbreaking thing to see the men in your family cry.  I’ve never seen my Grampy cry, he’s always the jovial type.  I cried through the entire thing.  We all couldn’t help but smile at the sermon though.  It was very hellfire-brimstone type of thing, directed at her heathen family.

Some memories:

11 year old Gaynip:  “Nanny, you’re not wearing your seat belt.”

Nanny:  “Oh!”  <Proceeds to let go of the wheel, while doing 80km/hr to TURN and put it on.>

11 year old Gaynip:  <Watching the car veer for the ditch>”NANNY!”

Nanny:  <Still putting on her seatbelt>

11 year old Gaynip:  <Holding the wheel steady>

Nanny:  “There.  Now, Sally…you shouldn’t be touching the wheel.”

* * * * *

Nanny spends a good 20-30 minutes talking about how it wasn’t my Mom’s fault she ran off when I was a little kid.  That my Dad shouldn’t have brought her home from Germany, let alone so young (she was 16).  Saddled her (!!) with her first child by the time she was 18.  There is a long lull in her gentle rant, and my Grand Mother and Grampy are starting at her agape at this diatribe.  Finally, Nanny says to me, “So…your mother still whoring around?”

* * * * *

Nicky (my favourite Homo, and yes I call him that to his face!) and I are visiting Nanny before I head back to Nova Scotia (I was wrapping up my summer job in New Brunswick).

Nanny:  “I was up ’til 3am last night reading my book.  Maybe it’s just me but there’s a lot of smut in books these days.”

Nicky and I are both nodding in agreement.  The pause is 9 months pregnant at this point.

Nanny:  “Maybe I’m just jealous.”

I’m not speechless too damn often, but what do you say to that?  Out of the mouth of octegenarian’s!

* * * * *

Nanny:  “Peter!  Go worsh (read: wash) yourself!  You smell like backside!”

* * * * *

She was a great lady, and she is sorely missed. RIP Christina (Tina) Allain.

God, I miss that woman.

So it is in this vein of thought that I’m reconsidering my SCA persona and the background.  Originally, it was a German girl named Adelhayt Richter.  Now I’m mulling over a Scot persona, as Nanny was the last living member of the Connacher clan in New Brunswick (the first emigrating to Canada in 1799).  It would be nice to pay tribute to that part of my heritage, especially since Nanny meant so much to me.


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