My Nana; my maternal grandmother, died in early April 1975.
This small woman of indomitable spirit; still fills my heart and I can hear her lovely Irish brogue when I’m awake and in dreamtime.
Celia Kedian Morley was born on the first of December 1890 in Brockloon, Ballyhaunis, in County Mayo, Ireland.
In 1916 she immigrated with two of her sisters and one brother; first they came to Boston then to New York City.
I remember most my Nana’s quiet dignity, her generosity and soft spoken eloquence. I know her mother died when she was quite young and her stepmother was brutal to her.
Her heart, benevolent always, remained open.
I remember my Nana as always pretty, petite and classy. I know my fondness for pearls is a gift from her; she always wore them to church and for other special occasions.
For dressy outings Nana believed a lady should always were a hat; if possible with a small veil and gloves, preferably white. She always carried a pocketbook as she called this must have accessory.
In it you would always find; her prayer book, rosaries, some lipstick, tenderly embroidered hankies and tootsie rolls and peppermints for her multitudinous grandchildren.
My Nana believed that life was serious; she had a deep faith in God. We were here to do good works. She showed me through her compassionate behavior that going to church was not enough; we needed to treat everyone with care and respect.
Nana did not have much formal education; she supposedly didn’t know anything about Psychological theory. However, she was very attuned to the shifts in people’s mood and could always tell when someone was having a hard time.
Her solution was to put the kettle on for tea and put out some of her world famous Irish Soda Bread. She would seat her guest with her at her yellow kitchen table and listen quietly.
I’m not sure she ever offered advice; as a child she was magical to me, her power seemed to be in her silence, her ability to bear witness and give comfort.
Whatever she did, we were all much more at peace leaving her table then when we sat down.
I often remembered her example when I was a young therapist and so wanted to be helpful. And to this day….
Nana was my first role model of deep, respectful listening.
She also showed me that doing less is often giving more.
To this day, I experience and treasure how I opened up in my Nana’s presence. I will always feel her healing, holding energy deep in my heart, softening the sharp edges of my childhood and adult worries.
I bless her always and especially every time I make a cup of tea that sooths a loved one or myself.
Now I love being called Nana by my grandchildren…