It’s always tough for me to find the words on days like this. That’s probably why this will be one of the shorter blog entries that I write. Days like this one remind a person of what’s truly important in life. Days like this remind you to always give loved ones hugs before you leave them. Days like this remind you to live each day as if it’s your last. Today, November 14, 2010, is “one of those days.”
My Grandma, or Nana as we called her, was a truly special woman. She had many quirks, funny sayings, and incredible stories. Stories from Nana’s childhood would have me on the edge of my seat for hours. Really, any story she told would do that. She had a certain “way with words.” For example, she always would say, “It happened that way going west.” We were never really sure what that meant, or who was going west, or even what happened. We did know, however, that Nana said it. So, it must mean something. She was the overcautious type, just like my Mom. She loved yard sales, flea markets, and family holidays. My fondest memories of her are when we would all get together as a family and head up north to the mountains of North Georgia. We would spend wonderful weekends together. Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, & grandparents. We would talk, laugh, play games, hike, fish, whatever we decided to do. My Nana LIVED for those weekends. It was always right now, during the beginning of November, that our trips would take place. So, today, as I see the leaves changing, I think of her. Above all else though, my Grandma was a baseball fan. She LOVED her Braves. Chipper, Andruw, McCann, Smoltz, Maddux, the list goes on. She never missed a game on TV. Once I became a professional baseball player, she grew to be even more of a fan, and loved hearing stories of my seasons, spring trainings, and off-seasons. Throughout the season, I send my family and close friends e-mail updates. I tell them what’s going on, where I am, how things are progressing with my career, etc. My Grandma loved those emails. She would call me once she received them to talk things over with me. She wanted the inside scoop on everything I was doing. She was my biggest fan for baseball and writing.
Many of you follow me on either Facebook or Twitter. Some of you are friends of mine on both. If you’ve been listening the last few weeks, you know that my Grandma’s health has been declining. We all knew it was coming, and today, I finally got word that she had passed. I saw her last on Tuesday afternoon. She could still recall who I was, who my wife was, and that we were there to see her and visit. She always got brighter when we’d visit. We would talk about baseball, the weather, whatever she wanted. I tried to cherish those times, knowing that they’d soon be no more. Once the realization that my Nana had passed sunk in, thousands of memories started flying through my head. Times that we spent at Vacation Bible School, times that we spent hanging out at her house, times that we spent in the mountains. I could go on and on. The fondest memories I have of her, though, are the ones we spent talking on the phone. Times that I was halfway across the country trying to live my dream. Times that I couldn’t see her, but I could talk to her. Times when she would tell me what a great writer I was, how proud of me she was for making it to the minor leagues, how all she wanted was for me to be a Braves pitcher. My Nana was always there for me. I’m going to miss her deeply, and I know that she’ll be looking down on all of us as we move forward in life.
I wanted to write this quick blog post in memory of my Nana. I won’t be emailing this one out to her today, but I know that she’ll be reading it. I know that she’ll be looking down on me as I move forward in my career. I know that she’ll be telling all her friends and relatives in Heaven that “her grandson is a pro baseball player” and she’ll tell them how proud of me she is. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me in baseball. Whatever comes next, I know that Nana will be proud of me, and will be excited to hear all about it. RIP Nana.