Four Years Ago Today…

Four years ago today, I said goodbye to my grandmother for the last time.

Pauline Withers (Nanny) first solar view

She wasn’t just any grandmother, she was mine and I called her Nanny. She was someone I looked up to, who loved and took care of me and I took care of her the best I could in return. She passed away in her room at Hospice where she spent the last few weeks of her life with the family keeping vigil at her bedside, along with her little dog, Daisy, and my dog, Riser.

Paul and I named our observatory in honor of my late grandparents, Pauline (Nanny) and Charles (Bampy) Withers. I can’t say they showed a great affection for astronomy, but what they did show affection for was their family. My grandparents were the stronghold of the family and taught us sense of adventure, wonders of nature, desire to travel and enjoy new experiences, having the guts to jump in with both feet to accomplish any task you set for yourself. The list could go on and on as I remember my grandfather teaching me about photography or how to clean my own fish after a fishing trip. Nanny with her amazing pie baking and letting me tag along for mushroom hunting or berry picking. The endless camping trips and ghost stories, late nights huddled together watching Double Chiller Theater sharing a big bowl of popcorn. Their love and compassion for animals. The ability to work out how to take things apart and fix it. How to play a mean game of gin rummy!

But above all else, they believed in me. They supported me in every endeavor with pride (and an abundance of love) in their eyes. I wish Bampy could have met Paul before he passed away. Thankfully, Nanny was alive for almost a decade after Paul and I were married.

When Paul and I eventually bought our first telescopes, Nanny never failed to ask me to tell her all about what we observed each night or day when she’d see us outside viewing. Her eyes would light up and she’d gently shake her head side to side with a smile on her face. You can imagine her delight when I brought over my Maxscope for her to have her first (and sadly only) view of our Sun.

Today was bittersweet as I left the cemetery to put lilac flowers on their grave and then drive by the old tannery where they first met. But it also is a celebration of their lives and my great fortune and thankfulness to have had them in my life.

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~ by Erika Rix on May 3, 2011.

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