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I love you, Nana.

July 19, 2011
My beautiful grandma Agnes, 1953

Just when you think your heart is already broken & can’t break again, it breaks again, & in places you didn’t know could break.

I love you, my beautiful Nana, & I will love you forever and a day. You will be so missed, as a matter of fact, I missed you already, the minute you left us on Saturday evening. My heart felt empty and I knew a little piece of me left with you. Today I know we’re supposed to be laying you to rest, but you’re already at rest. Unfortunately, we’re not. This is so very hard for all of us who miss having you here. Harder still because you weren’t supposed to leave. You weren’t sick, or in poor health. It wasn’t expected. Not that that makes it easier, anyway.

I can still smell your Shalimar, see you standing in front of me, hear your voice calling my name. I hope in some ways those things never leave me, that way I know I’ll still have you for the rest of my life, in ways only I can see/hear/smell. Like our own little secret. Like a wink and a smile behind someone’s back to let me in on your little joke. I cannot believe my grandmother, my godmother, my friend, my ally… is gone. After 93 years on this earth, you left us. You didn’t want to, you fought, but we had to let you go. And while the world is a a little darker, the sky must be a hell of a lot brighter. You used to call me your star, and now you’re mine.

You didn’t care if I had pink hair, half my head was shaved or my nose had a ring in it; if I wore Army fatigues & Doc Martens or safety pins in my ears… you loved me & always told me so, saying you enjoyed how much of an individual I was. Not to mention instilling in both mom and me a sense of “be who you are.” You defended me & my friends when people called us “freaks” in the mall when we were in high school. You yelled at an old lady in Rite-Aid because she gave me a dirty look & sneered at my purple hair, telling her I was an A+ student at a private Catholic school & that it was none of her damn business how I dressed. You knew who Green Day was, you knew Jay-Z was married to Beyonce & you loved Lady Gaga. You weren’t the average 93 year old, you were special. And you were my grandma, which was more important than any of that.

You weren’t a baker or a cook, but you were my biggest fan & best “customer.” And while I didn’t learn those particular things from you, I learned so much. I learned to have pride. Pride in my appearance, pride in myself, pride in my decisions, pride in my family. I learned to take care of myself from you & mom; that’s where I get my “kickin’ ass & takin’ names” attitude from. I learned not to be afraid of anyone or anything. You were one awesome lady, Red, with a kick-ass Irish sense of humor & feisty style to match your flaming red hair. I hope you’re hangin’ out with your parents, grandpa Butch & all your siblings/in-laws who left this world before you, & I sincerely hope, despite my own personal lack of religious beliefs, that you’re all together, laughing your ass off somewhere, having a ball. After all, they had to have been happy to see you; the life of the party finally arrived.

I’ll see you on the flip side, Nana Aggie; I’ll bring the cupcakes, you bring the tea.


“Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.” – Emily Dickinson

Agnes Veronica Rooney Sonnanburg ღ May 21, 1918 – July 16, 2011

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  1. Oh, hon, I’m so very sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your family. Your grandmother sounds like a lovely, remarkable, wonderful woman whose memory you will cherish.

  2. This made me tear up, as it was such a nice tribute to her. Thanks for sharing it with us. Sounds like she was an amazing and special woman that you’re blessed to have known. I’m terribly sorry for your loss.

  3. I cried when I read this. I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my grandma when I was just 8 and it still hurts to this day. You are lucky you had her as long as you did but know that now you are cloaked in love and protection 24/7 because she will be watching over you. I won’t give you a bunch of bs about it getting better, it doesn’t, but one day you just won’t feel as raw.

  4. Marilla….beautiful tribute to your Nana…..May she be your guiding light……RIP,Agnes…..XXX

  5. My condolences to you and your family at this difficult time. I imagine your grandma happy and smiling and watching over you. You and your family are in my prayers.

  6. This is a such a lovely tribute, my darling girl, to a most amazing, beautiful woman…You are the most wonderful daughter & grand-daughter anyone could wish for…and forever your Nana’s “star”….

  7. Thanks Mom <3

    Thank you, Stephanie. I definitely am. The women in my family are amazingly strong & I'm proud to have those genes. I'm sad I'll never see her again, but as corny as it sounds I know she's a part of me.

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