I haven’t always believed in angels specifically the guardian kind. Growing up and trying to navigate through life as the emotional being I am was very challenging for me because of my family of origin. I didn’t have the guidance from either of my parents, neither one of them ever came to me when I was sad in my room to talk to me or seemed to even care about my feelings. It always seemed like a burden, an after thought, something that fell by the wayside. My battered soul was the by product and result from their lack of communication regarding emotions. Instilling fear and guilt were perfectly excuted by both my mother and father yet how to cope with sadness and anger were void from existence. I wasn’t aware then that there were angels around me guarding and protecting me. In fact, at that time if somebody had told me so I wouldn’t have believed them anyways.
Books became my best friends. I especially enjoy biographies and memoirs. I used to day dream about what my life would be like if Mother Teresa (my middle name coincidentally) or even Maya Angelou were my mother. I have always admired these two women for their thoughtful insights about spreading love and kindness. I am however eternally grateful that I did have one selfless and generously loving woman in my life growing up, my Nana.
Ellie was always the life of the party, the matriarch of our family. Growing up we were always closer to my mother’s side of the family, to this day I’m unsure why. My mother’s mother, my grandma, my Nana was an extraordinary woman. I always remember her being so cheerful and happy to visit with us. She taught me how to sew and make Russian nutballs around Christmas time. She was our biggest cheerleader and I always looked forward to her letters. Her swirly expressionist handwriting was sometimes difficult to read but looking back it was so her. Upbeat and animated, like she lived her life. Unfortunately she and my Pop-Pop lived in Florida and I was raised in New Jersey so we didn’t have the luxury of seeing her whenever we wanted to. They retired there permantly when I was about six or seven I think so most of my memories are of our visits to Florida or when they would come up to stay for the holidays. Nana lived to sing and dance. In fact I remember her getting up on the table, or threatening to after have one to many Black Russians at a restraunt for dinner once. She sure was a lively character! We would go caroling at Christmas around the neighborhood with Nana as our leader. Ellie had a huge and generous heart. I believe it stemmed from her growing up in an orphanage. Her personality shown through in her style, her hair, jewelry and outfits were always impeccable.
Today, had she lived Nana would be 97. Fifteen years ago she was diagnoised with ovarian cancer. It was unbelievable to all of us because she was always so healthy and took no medications even into her 80s! The doctors put her on chemotherapy and I believed that’s what did her in. She passed away thirteen years ago on St.Patrick’s day. My 4’11 Polish and Irish Nana went to sing with the angels. I was utterly devastated and heart broken. At the time, I couldn’t foresee the devastating consequences her death would have on me. Her passing was the beginning of all of my major losses including my house, my marriage and my mind.
Along my journey to recovery, one of my therapists who I attribute so much of my success to, guided me in visualizing my guardian angel. We were talking about who in my life whether alive or dead would want to take all my burdens away. Who in my life loved me so much that they wouldn’t want me to feel so sad and depressed about my life as I was at the time. It didn’t take long for me to answer her, it was undeniably my Nana. She helped me understand that Nana was in fact my guardian angel and that all I needed to do was talk to her. Call upon her for advice, protection, warmth and a sense of peace. In return I would receive signs of her existence working on my behalf here on Earth.
I wrote this poem and it’s dedicated to my Nana. She sends me signs from the beyond in the form of butterflies and birds. Just the very thought of her makes me smile. I love you Nana, this one’s for you.