Remembering Nancy

Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN

I can’t believe it’s February 1st already. One year ago we said goodbye to our kind, loving cousin. And life went on without her. Don’t get me wrong, something makes me think of her every day. I hear her laugh or something she said during one of the many hours we spent waiting for oncology appointments or chemo infusions to be done. But here I am, able to reflect on her journey and the past year without her to add her witty comebacks.

The experts might call this a grief anniversary – a day that sticks out in our heads, makes us pause and think a little more about the one we lost. It might be a birthday, wedding anniversary or the day they died. You might think these days get easier every year- maybe for some they do – but for many they do not. It is important to recognize that our feelings on these days may be different than other days – and that is ok. So what can we do to get through them? That is as personal a decision as there is – you need to do what works for you.

Maybe you want to spend the day surrounded by people who also loved this person or maybe you want to be alone. Do something to honor their memory – light a candle, tell stories with others who loved them, have a dinner in their honor, make a facebook post of one of your favorite memories, the possibilities are endless.

In the summer before she passed, Nancy talked endlessly about going to the beach and sinking her toes in the sand. Her friends and family encouraged her, but at the same time worried about her being disappointed when she couldn’t get through the dunes with a walker and unsteady gait, let alone all the way to the water’s edge. Her determination was unbeatable. With her dad’s help, she climbed the steps over the dunes at the beach she visited every year, and walked all the way to the water. She was so happy to put her toes in the ocean and watch her daughter play in the water. It, for me, was one of the most memorable events of that last year of her life. So it seemed only appropriate for us to honor her memory with our toes in the sand.

Here’s to you Nancy – we miss you and love you every day.