I was in Brussels when I received the news Nana Jean (my paternal grandmother) was gone. My mother is very much alive and a part of my life, but if you ask anyone who raised me, including my own mother, everyone will say Nana Jean. She was that kind of woman. Her condemnations as wounding as her compliment as wonderful, she was a piece of work. Yes, I was the near spitting image of my maternal grandmother Nana Kayla, however my spirit was pure Nana Jean. Though we had known for quite a while that the cancer was in its final stages and it was only a matter of time, the news of her passing still came as a shock.
I called my fiance, Justin, not even five seconds after I hung-up with Mama, but of course he already knew, by the time I reached him. As always, he had all the right words to say to give me comfort. Still, there I was on the other side of the world negotiating a multimillion dollar deal for my company. I was barely able to concentrate on the deal, but I knew all eyes were on me and could not mess this up. Luckily, I had a fantastic staff with me who immediately picked-up my slack and we got through the deal. I was on the first thing smoking back to the States before the ink was dry.
I had wanted nothing more than to get home as soon as possible, cry on Justin’s shoulders and then be the strong one for the rest of my family. The only problem was, even once I made it back to the States, I needed to be with my family on the east coast and Justin was on the west coast where we lived. Yes, I have other family and friends who would be there for me, but they would not be Just and that was what I needed.
“How you holding up baby? Still have your curl?” Justin called around breakfast time, not even two hours after my arrival to my parents’ home.
I had spent the entire ride from the airport and the past couple of hours listening to my father and Aunt Tina argue over every little detail of Nan Jean’s arrangements. I was not in my childhood home ten minutes and I already felt as though my head was going to explode. Justin’s call was the perfect diversion and medicine for what ails.
“Yes, I still have it.” I couldn’t help but smile. He knows me all too well, gently calling me out as the liar he knew I was, while I guiltily released the curl at my left temple that somehow always winds up twisted around my index finger whenever I was really upset or really bored. He jokes that if I kept doing so, I was going to twist it off one day. So every now and then he asks if it’s still there as way of teasing me and getting me to stop the bad habit.
“What was it about weddings and funerals that bring out the absolute worst in people anyway?” I finished my litany of family woes and whines. “You just don’t know, I feel like crap and a half right now.”
“Well, what would make you feel better right now, this instant?” He asks.
“You, just you. You giving me a good hug and a kiss.” I said without hesitation, but with a little tinge of sadness knowing he’s on the opposite coast and that hug is not likely to happen for a few days.
“Ask and it shall be given,” He says ominously. “All you have to do is open a door.”
Before I can say what the… the doorbell rings.
No…! I mentally gasp, running to the door, flinging it open.
Yes! Justin stands there smiling, arms wide open.
I flew into them basking in the strength of him pouring into me, and yes, I felt better.