My Nana passed away on February 13th surrounded by her family after being diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks before. She passed very peacefully and kept her wit until the very end. Hours before, when people were coming in and out of her room I said to her, "I think you, Susan and I are the only sane ones in this bunch." She replied, "I think your right, honey" My Nana was many things to me over the years. She was a grandmother and a babysitter. She was a mentor and an advisor. She was a resource for travel tips and great grandmother to our son. Through it all, and especially as I grew mature enough to realize it, she was a friend. Our conversations, though split by a fifty year spread, were always casual but meaningful. She would offer me suggestions on how to live my life and how to raise Judah and do so as a peer... never with an air of authority. She kept that spicy Filipino side suppressed until necessary to quickly end a conversation. And believe me, should could pull out the big guns if need be!
Growing up, Nana was my tour guide when I was too 'sick' for school. Whether it was a museum or a theme park (or hours at the beauty parlor!) she wasn't just taking me to get us out of the house she was taking me because she wanted to go. I remember her being as excited as I was at the things we would see. But, I'm certain that our trips to see the alligators at the Seminole Reservation were as much for her sake as mine. We would always leave with cartons of tax free cigarettes.
She never stopped thirsting to learn. In the past ten years, as she became active online, she would always call with questions about the internet and her computer. She wanted to know how to keep her computer running smoothly as well as how to create profiles on social networking sites. She once called asking how to 'defrag' her hard drive. Not long ago she emailed wanting to know how to set up an account on "The Flickers". I'm sure she wanted a login so she could comment on my pictures. After Judah was born, I bought her a webcam and we have been using Skype several times a week ever since. A few times she would call Susan's Skype account not knowing she was teaching and Susan would turn the computer around so the kids could talk to Nana.
Looking back at both this blog and my Facebook page, it was Nana who was always the most prolific commenter. Always in CAPS! I knew after I posted a blog, photo or video she would be the first to see and 'like' it. Before she returned from the hospital for the last time, she requested a video of Judah to be online for her when she got home... something to look forward to. She said it was one of the first things she did when she got home.
Upon her passing, it was my grandfather and I at her side. He held her right hand while I was holding her left. I feel honored and loved to know that she chose to share that moment with me. It was peaceful and painless for her. I will always love and cherish all my memories with her and will do the best I can to ensure Judah knows how much she loved him.
Some of her comments from Facebook.
HOW MANY YRS IN PRISON IF I COME AND KIDNAP HIM. HE IS A LIVING DOLL. THANKS - LOVE
THUS MADE ME CRY. BEAUTIFUL HOW U ALL DO I T I DONT KNOW.LOVE
LADD, Pacita Jugo, 84, of Temple Terrace, Fla., died Sunday, February 13, 2011, at home surrounded by her family. "Pat" was born July 1, 1926 in Manila, Philip-pines, the oldest of nine children. It was during World War II, that she met her first husband Tom McEwen in Manila, where he was stationed. After the war, they eventually settled in Temple Terrace, where she raised their two children. In 1959, Pat started her many years of playing golf and bridge with her circle of close friends at the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club. In 1969, she married Andrew Ladd and became mother to his four children. They enjoyed many great years together traveling the world and visiting with family. She was also a passionate Gator and Bucs fan. Pat was a proud and beloved wife, mother, grandmother and friend, who lived life to its fullest. The memories of her will be honored and cherished by all who knew this amazing lady. Pat was preceded in death by her parents, Rafael and Carmen Jugo of Manila, and five siblings. She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Andrew M Ladd; sisters, Mila Garcia and Menchu Alleja; brother, Joe Jugo; son, Rick McEwen (Jane); daughter, Virginia Mullaney (Kevin); sons, Andrew Ladd (Donna), and Robert Ladd (Dawn); daughters, Susie Weda (Jim) and Bitsy Calloway (Donnie); grandsons, Christopher Stork (Susan), Sean Mullaney (Meghan), Ricky McEwen, Lucas Calloway (Erin), Jarret Calloway (Callie) and Andrew Ladd; granddaughters, Stephanie Flynn (Mark), Ellie Ladd and Hannah Ladd; great grandsons, Jordan Flynn, Foster Calloway and Judah Stork; great-granddaughter, Jocelyn Flynn and many loved nieces and nephews in the Philippines.