"Nannie would be so proud of you, Amanda." She says it all the time, my aunt does. How can she know? She's not Nannie, and Nannie's not here so we can ask her her opinion! I understand, it's meant to be encouraging, to remind me that she's gone but not forgotten. I understand perfectly. But I don't think she does. I don't think my aunt, though she means well, gets it. What's meant to be a neutral, happy statement isn't for me. Because in the wee hours, when I lay my head down and start to drift off into that nice oblivion we on earth call 'sleep', those words echo themselves in my mind.

"Nannie would be so proud of you, Amanda." Would you, Nannie? Am I doing okay? Not making stupid decisions that I'll regret later? Keeping up with all that I need to? Being kind, respectful? Setting the proper example for the kids, so they grow up to be 'acceptable members of society' by society's standards? Would I really still be doing things to make you proud? I don't know. I don't know, and that kills me. I try to think back, recall just one time I can remember where you were expressly disappointed in me. I can't remember not a one. I'm sure there has to be at least one time, right? I mean, you don't go through knowing a person and every waking moment you are with them is pleasant. It's just not possible. Or is it?

"Nannie would be so proud of you, Amanda." I pray, I pray, I pray to God that this is true. That I am still making you proud. Because I don't think I could live with myself if I was doing otherwise. It seems so long ago that you were here with me. In my memories, I see me and I can remember exactly what I was doing, or saying. I can't remember. I can't remember you, what you were saying. Snippets of memories treasured. I pray that I hold enough of you to pass on to my children, my grandchildren. To everyone around me. Like you did. I don't think there is a person on this earth who came in contact with you and could say they didn't like at least something about you.

You touched the world, my world at least, in a very special way. You taught me so many of life's lessons I'd be hard pressed to remember them all, and yet somehow I do. I remember the pleases and the thank-yous and to cover my mouth when I cough or sneeze. The little things. The little things that define who we are and what kind of world we live in. I pray that I continue to 'make you proud', even if you aren't physically here to assure me I'm doing a good job, or to set me straight when I'm not. I pray, pray, pray that I continue to make you proud. Because I couldn't live with myself if I was doing otherwise.