Six months ago today Nana died.
I honestly don't even recognize my life these last six months. In addition to the loss of Nana, a couple of friendships I believed were indestructible have died too. And Nana's sister, my Great Aunt Dixie died right after Christmas.
It's been a sad six months and I still cry more than I want to. The good news is that at least I can control it better now. I don't spontaneously burst into tears very often, although it happened in public just last week.
The last six months haven't been all sad though. There's been a good bit of happiness too. Because Aunt Dixie died, Mom and I went back to Batesville, Mississippi, for what will probably be the last time in both of our lives. Mom and I visited Nana's grave, shared a sliver of the last bit of fruitcake Nana ever made with her, and left a picture of Nana, Mom, Dave, and me on her grave. I got to stand there, take a deep breath and just say good-bye, like I couldn't do in July.
The highlight of that trip for me though was reuniting with my cousin Robbie. We used to be incredibly tight - she was like an older sister to me, but we had a falling out 14 years ago and hadn't spoken since. The truth is that I missed her greatly and had thought a number of times over the years that I wanted to reach out and extend an olive branch, but I never did. I was still hurt. It turns out she was still hurt too and it felt really good when we finally sat down and worked it all out while we were in Batesville.
I'm so glad Robbie and I didn't turn the page on another decade without speaking. Too much time had passed as it was and we both missed out on many things in each others lives and times when we could have used the other. I can't say our relationship is back to the way it was - 14 years don't get forgotten overnight and it hasn't even been a couple of weeks - but we're on our way.
Nana always taught me that family matters more than anything. She was right, and I know she smiled as she looked down from Heaven and saw Robbie and me making up. Come to think of it, maybe Aunt Dixie had something to do with it too. Maybe after all these years, she gave us that one final gift.