My Nannie, my father’s mother, died today. I got an email from my mom, who had gotten a phone call from one of my aunts. Funeral services will be held Wednesday January 3. No one expects me to attend.
Etha Arline Shroyer* Kunst: 2/20/1915 to 12/31/2006
*Yes she was a cousin of some type to Sonny Shroyer of Dukes of Hazzard fame-the TV show not the movie.
Actually, I’m not sure if it was today. Perhaps it was yesterday. Her husband, my Pappaw, died back in 1984, soon after their 50th wedding anniversary. I remember that his funeral was on my 16th birthday. While all of my high school peers were having debutante balls (in NJ), I had a funeral in West Virginia. I remember going to some type of sporting event afterward with a cousin (basket ball maybe).
I did not know my Nannie well. My parent divorced when I was 4. It was apparently contentious. I did see my father nor go back to the state where he lived until his death four years later. I did spend some summers (before I discovered sleep away camp) with my father’s parents (Nannie & Pappaw) or his sisters (my aunts) and their families from ages 8 to 10 or so. I would always gain about 10 pounds in 2 weeks. My Nannie could cook. Oh my. But a summer here or there or holiday does not make for knowing well. She was kind to me. That I remember.
My Nannie has been in assisted living for the last few years. She’s had Alzheimer’s or something like it. I have not seen her since about 2000, when my husband and I (then just dating) drove from Connecticut back to Colorado. She had no idea who I was at that time. It’s an interesting disorder. Her knowledge of who people were (her daughters, other guests) was absent. But her social graces were intact. She was still so incredibly charming and gracious, in a way that only southern belles can be. “Y’all come back.” I hope that if I one day succumb to Alzheimer’s that I (and those around me) will find that I am similarly kind, gentle and simply nice inside. I fear that there may only be caustic wit and sarcasm to be found. I am working on this.
I went to college at 16 and from that point on, it was mostly a card relationship: birthdays, christmas, the occassional mother’s day (when I was being a good grand-daughter). Did you know that mother’s day started in the USA in Grafton, WV, where my Nannie lived most of her life?
Goodnight Nannie. I hope your passing was peaceful.