Love Like Nana

By Joseph J. Mazzella • March 4, 2020

My dear grandmother passed away almost 18 years ago but I still miss her every single day. She was such an important part of my life. My Mom, Dad, brothers and I lived in her old house for most of my childhood. And when I close my eyes and open my heart that is how I remember her. I can still see her in her flower print, cotton dress with a flour dusted apron tied over it. I can see her smiling face with her wispy hair all askew and her big glasses sliding down her nose. I can hear her high pitched voice say, "HELLO" as I opened the door after school while her arms opened to give me a big hug and kiss. I can even remember how she smelled. It was a curious combination of cold cream, Ben Gay, garlic, and tomato sauce. And when she hugged me I could feel the love and joy coming from her heart into mine.

I thought I knew everything about my "Nana" but amazingly I am still learning more about her even today. Just yesterday an old family friend stopped to talk to me at the local post office. She told me of what happened once while she visited my Nana when I was still a little boy. They were sitting around the dining room table talking and our friend noticed the lovely earrings my Nana was wearing. She told Nana about how much she liked them and asked if possibly she could leave them to her in her will. Without a second thought my sweet Nana took them off and gave them to her on the spot.

After our friend left I stood there for a few minutes in amazement. I had never known this and as far as I could tell Nana never mentioned it to anyone. That was just like her. She may have been feisty and temperamental at times but she loved deeply and she gave freely.

I have decided then that I want to love like Nana loved. I want to give like Nana gave. I want to live like Nana lived. I want to care more about people and less about things. I want to let my heart rather than my fear guide me. I want to share my love freely and joyfully. I want to give and to live in such a way that Heaven sings and God smiles. May you do the same.

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