21 September 2005
I sit up at night sometimes trying to think about all the things I remember about her. As painful as it may be, I can't help myself. I don't want to lose her memory, don't want to lose her. It's been five years, five years, a hell of a long time. It feels like an eternity. It's been so long that I've forgotten, almost, what it was like to hug and kiss her good-morning and good night. It's been so long that I've almost forgotten the scent of her perfume, and the sound of her voice. So even though it hurts, sometimes I sit up at night and just think about what I remember.
I remember sitting with her to watch Matlock, and Emeril Live (BAM!), and Judge Judy. I remember watching QVC with her, listening to her comment on the various products they showed. I remember how she always had to have her specialty cup with "Coke, Ice, and a God-damned straw!" and heaven forbid you forget the straw! I remember her slippers and how she always had to have them on because her feet would get cold. I remember all the times she asked me to tickle her arms or back and challenging me to see if I could give her "goose-bumps". I remember sitting behind her and playing with her hair, or tracing letters of the alphabet on her back while she tried to guess which letter I was tracing.
I remember helping her to make my favorite meal, chicken and dumplings, and then going on and on about how delicious they were and eating much too much. I remember how she adored her lighthouses. I remember how much she loved her George Foreman "Lean, mean, fat-reducing grilling machine". I remember how she used to cook pork chops on the stove, seasoned to perfection. Man, were they delicious. I remember how she always had to have some kind of candy on hand, usually orange slices or lemon drops, and how I seemed to be the only kid she'd share with. Oh, and how she loved a bar of Hershey's Dark Chocolate, I remember that, too.
I remember how she always had time for me, even when I didn't feel like anyone else did. I remember how she didn't care if I called at three in the morning, if I needed her, she was always there. I remember how she always encouraged me. I remember how no matter how many times I said "I love You", she always, always said it back. I remember how she called me her "Darlin', Darlin' Amanda Panda". I remember how she refused to write in my Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Journal until she had thoroughly thought out what she was going to write in it. I remember how she smiled when what she wrote brought me to tears and said, "Well, I didn't mean to make you cry!" I remember how much I loved her and how much she loved me and it hurts so bad my heart clenches painfully in my chest and I can scarcely breathe. I remember what it was like having her with me, and then I remember what it was like losing her. And I realize that no matter what, as long as I keep these memories with me, even the little insignificant things, she will live forever. So no matter how much it hurts, sometimes I have to sit up late at night and remember my loving Nannie, just to feel her close to me again.