Eleven years ago I moved to Canada to become a part of Dewey’s life. It was a new country, a new city, a new role as stepmom and a new family to be a part of. I was a bit scared. I wasn’t sure if they would like me. What if they hated me?
It wasn’t always easy but I was lucky. You see, my mother-in-law, Claire, and I hit it off. Maybe not from day one but pretty soon. We liked similar things….travel, a good walk and cooking for our family and friends. As the years went on, I figured out that I had won the mother-in-law lottery.
Claire (or Nana as we all called her), loved her son but she didn’t see his wife as competition. She knew he loved her to pieces and that however much he loved me didn’t change that. She also knew that if she wanted to see her son then she would have to see me. It just made sense to her that we might as well get along. So we did.
Holidays and visits to the farm meant big dinners full of the delicious country food that she loved so much. I was always her right hand man in the kitchen. I didn’t try to push any new recipes or my own dishes (okay….occasionally I asked to make cornbread dressing). Instead, I learned how to make turnip puff and how to remove the stuffing from a turkey. In between, we would sit and chat over tea or have one of the boys mix us a Caesar (Papa only got to do that once because he mixed them so strong the two of us were tipsy before dinner! We laughed about that for years.). We shared recipes, the latest books we read and a love for our family.
She was also an amazing Nana to all three of the kids. She cared so much for each of them and were fiercely proud of them all. Evan spent many a day out at the farm with Nana and Papa Don….digging in the dirt, watering the plants and baking cookies.
A few years ago, Nana and I took a trip to New York City (no boys allowed!) as my thank you to her for keeping Evan so often when we would go out of town. We had an absolute blast. We walked all over Manhattan, saw all the things, watched all the shows and ate all the food. We were in heaven!
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, you see, we had to say goodbye to Nana on this past sunday. After an eight month struggle with pancreatic cancer, she passed away.
Nana spent the last three weeks in the Foothills Country Hospice in Okotoks. I can not say enough wonderful things about the facility. The staff and the facility are such a comfort to patients and families. It gave us the time and the ability to be with her over the last few weeks of her life.
I wasn’t sure if I would write about this loss here but I have talked so much about Nana here that it felt right. You’ve all read Nana’s recipes, followed our trip to New York and seen our pictures at the farm. I know many of you feel like you know her. So I wrote this to let you know and to let you know how I felt about her.
She was an amazing lady and I am going to miss her dearly.