Put on Some Lipstick – A Tribute to Nana

If there was one thing I will remember about our Nana, it was her love of lipstick. And jewelry. And anything fancy.

She was an interior decorator & furniture sales person. She loved to make things pretty & proper.
She was a Democrat in a die-hard Republican family (and my hero because she was the only person who could quiet my stepdad during one of his political rants) – holidays & dinners were always much more lively when she shared her opinion. : )
Here is how this past week went down:
The two weeks prior I had spent preparing for three events (two of them large multi-day events) for work. I made it a point to let my friends & family know that I would have no life during the first week of December because of these events & not to be offended that I had no time for them.

Then I got the news – My mother & stepfather had to drag Jeannette to the hospital on Tuesday evening, thinking that she had suffered a small stroke on Monday. She wouldn’t take the ambulence that was called for her, but she DID grab her lipstick before getting into my parents’ car.

That night we found out that she had a heart attack on Monday & had gone almost 48 hours afterwards without being treated. She would have to stay the night in the hospital, but not before arguing with the doctors & insisting that my parents bring her lotion & jewelry up if she absolutely had to stay. Later in the evening she suffered a massive heart attack. 

So she was put on life support. Cory & I went to visit on Wednesday for 1/2 an hour or so. She was completely unconcious, so it was mostly to support my stepdad, who was VERY close to her.

I also snuck out of my event on Thursday afternoon to spend a couple of hours with her & my stepdad up at the hospital. She seemed to be getting better, she touched my hand when I put it on her shoulder & told her that I was there. There was a feeling of hope in the air.

But it went downhill from there. We tried to gradually reduce her the life support & she crashed. By Saturday morning the decision was made to take her off of life support. She died around 10:15 a.m.

We had a memorial for her at my parents’ church & had her cremated (she didn’t trust the mortician to apply her makeup the way she liked it done – no open casket funeral allowed). She’s being buried today in Portis, KS where she was raised.

Looking back at the week, this is what I’ve realized:

1. Life is crazy. Especially for a working girl. But FIRST THINGS FIRST. In my book, family is first. I am SO THANKFUL that I took the time to spend time with her on her final days of life, and be there to comfort & grieve with my family. It was a hard week for me to walk away from work, with all of the events happening that I had been planning for months, but I am truly glad I found a way to work it out.

2. Once I had made the tough decisions: canceling lunch plans with a friend that I hadn’t seen in months, exiting an event & having to ask my team to fill in for me, skipping bootcamp (well, that one wasn’t so tough) – I just had to LET IT GO. Initially I struggled with the guilt of cancelled committments & wished that I could be in two places at once, but the only thing I could do was let it go. Luckily, I have very supportive & understanding people in my life.

3. Jeanette’s death was unexpected. But she was almost 81 years old & her health was slowly deteriorating. But when she past, there were less tears than there were smiles. Less sobs than laughter. She was an amazing woman and she believed in Jesus. She is now in heaven, a better place. It felt so right to be joyful for her. Her life was full of love, family, friends, passion, mess, laughter, joy, beauty – it was blessed.

Thank you for all of the wisdom & life lessons you have passed on to us, Nana. I’m sure you are looking down from heaven right now – lipstick & all. : )


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