I SPY: Almost a Century

Sep 12, 2014

What does 100 look like?  Close to this.  Unfortunately my Grandmother never made it to celebrate her 100th birthday.  With a sad heart I announce the recent death of my Grandmother 'Nan'.  She passed away on Wednesday, September 10, 2014.  She was 99 years old.  Just 3 months shy of her upcoming 100th birthday on December 24, 2014.

What's her secret?  A daily glass of red wine, and no husband!  HA!  Those were her words not mine.  Amazingly she still followed her daily routine till almost the end and had her last glass of red wine on September 6, that she grabbed from my Uncle and finished!!  She was a character.  A tough cookie.  Good wit and sense of humor.  An integral part of our lives.  CHEERS to her in heaven!

Nan lived a super long and healthy life, up until the last 3 weeks when she was admitted to hospital and discovered to have kidney failure that could not be reversed.  She was brought home under the care of a Hospice team to be free of tubes, and to live her last weeks peacefully in her own comforting environment, surrounded by family and the things she loved.

After returning from the hospital she still remained in good spirits.  Captured here on September 1, 2014 she's busy checking and sorting through her mail that had piled up while she was in the hospital.  She was all about routine and stuck to the clock!

In the last 2 weeks of her life some days were better then others.  But every time there was a good day we had a leap of hope to root for her to live longer.  However, the last 3 days of her life were rough.  She was in pain, Morphine had to be administered, and she wasn't herself anymore.  This was when I told myself in my heart that it's time to let her go, and asking her to live longer was only for selfish reasons.  Watching her suffer was sad, and even worst when there's not much you can do to free her of her misery.  Her body had to run its own course and God had to make the final decision.

She will be greatly missed by her 6 Children, 23 Grandchildren, and 33 Great Grandchildren.  WOW.  That's a lot of offspring, huh?  I didn't even realize what a huge family we had till I started counting!  Needless to say she was loved and will be remembered by many.

In my moment of mourning and accepting that she is no longer physically here with us, I've found PEACE in pouring through old photos.  They bring back tons of memories.  Really good ones!  Here I pay tribute to her and take you on a trip down memory lane of her life and how I will remember her.

1930's - Late Teens/ 20+ years old.  Whoa.  Check it out.  She was a HOT chick back in her hey day!  Young and gorgeous.

1940's - 30+ years old.  Nan and my Dad in The Netherlands.

1950's - 40+ years with my Dad and his younger brother in Hong Kong.

1960's - 50+ years looking very Jackie O' here!  Nan was a classic beauty.

1970's - 60+ years with my Grandfather

1987 - 73 years old.  Still a GLAM puss!  This photo screams old Hollywood to me.  Doesn't she remind you of Elizabeth Taylor?  BEAUTIFUL!  This was on a sailing trip in Hawaii where I remember she sat the whole time looking very regal like the Queen.  Meanwhile the rest of us were hanging off the side of the boat like peasants sick from the rough seas!  She was always very proper.

Nan loved Hawaii, the music, dancing, and culture.  We vacationed with her in Hawaii a couple of times.  That's me on the left with the awkward smile, and my big sister!

Nan was into astrology and horoscopes, as you can see in this note.  I'm not sure when she gave this to me, but probably when I was a teenager in the 90's.  She wrote 'Dragon' even though I'm a 'Snake' sign according to the Chinese horoscope.  Irregardless, it was still a sweet gift to receive from her.  Happy that I received a positive note from her, rather then a nasty one.  If you knew her she was famous for writing notes to family members and people - good and bad!

1997 - 83 years old.  Nan and George on her 83rd Birthday.  She mentioned in the letter George whom was a Dragon.  That was her good friend.

2007 - 93 years old.  She is candidly shot standing strong and able to lift my oldest son who was 3 years old back then and close to 40 pounds.  I could hardly carry him!  How did Nan have that strength and not break her back?  Don't under estimate the power of this SUPER WOMAN!

2008 - 94 years old.  She wasn't your typical cookie baking Grandma - she was COOL.  Here she is having a light saber battle with my older son.  I think he was a little shocked that she was challenging him! HA.

And she loved all the Great Grand - babies, as seen snuggling with my lil' guy at 6 weeks old.

2012 - 97 years old.  When we had no power in NY for over a week after Hurricane Sandy we retreated to Texas.  My lil' guy celebrated his 4th birthday there.  That trip Nan and my lil' one really bonded, and they grew very fond of each other.  It was very sweet to see the interaction between them that week, from how she continuously doted over him at the dinner table and sang songs to him.  It would have touched you if you had the chance to eavesdrop on their conversations.  I wish I videotaped it.

2013 - 98 years old.  Nan had a bad fall, and ended up having hip surgery over Thanksgiving.  The initial prognosis with surgery and her age was not positive.  But she surprised us all and sprung back to her feet after surgery!

2014 - 99 years old.  The last time I saw her in July 2014.  Nan and my new baby Eddy.  She loved dogs!

AMAZING woman?  Without doubt!  She is a legend going down strong in history.  If I'm blessed to have the chance to live as long as Nan I can only hope that I've inherited her genes and will age as gracefully in good health as she did.  R. I. P Nan.  You will forever be in our hearts.

Starting this weekend and going forward let this be a reminder to make time to spend with your loved ones.  You never know when you or their time is up.  Live in the present, make the most of it and create memories.  Lots of them!  Memories last forever, and you can never have too many.  Can you?  Don't forget to document your memories by photos or video.  Enjoy!

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