“Well, Flitter.”

A week ago Sunday, my mom called with the news: Nanny has died.

We knew it was coming; in fact, we were kinda praying it would happen quickly.

A few months go, as her memory was betraying her more than ever, we got to FaceTime. And while she was lucid and engaged, she cybermet my son, her namesake, Davis Fielden.

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Several weeks later she met him in person, but by then she was pretty confused.

So when mom called to tell me the news of her passing, I wasn’t surprised. But I was surprisingly sad. No matter how much you expect death, it still stinks.

With Taylor at a conference for work all week, the little dudes and I packed and loaded the car to spend the week at my grandparents’ house.

The night before we left, I heard Beckett over the monitor talking to his brother. He said, “Hutton? Can you say ‘Arkansas’? That’s where we’re going tomorrow. We’re going to see Papa! Nanny won’t be there, buddy. Nanny died. But we get to go celebrate her!”

And celebrate we did.

One thing about my Nanny, is that she loved to laugh. She giggled constantly. She also made me giggle constantly when she did things like wipe the front of your shirt after you burped and say, “Get any on ya?!” (She also LOVED Avon. I fear for the future of the company now that she’s gone.)

Nanny loved to laugh, and she would have loved to laugh at the things that happen when you road trip for 9 hours with a 4 year old, almost 2 year old, and 5 month old.

Like when we had been on the road for all of 10 minutes before I had to pull over and wipe-bathe kid #3 in a Chick-fil-A parking lot.

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…followed shortly by a trip to Kohl’s to buy some clearance onesies since, you know, he blew through half his stash within the first hour of our trip.

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…followed shortly by a trip to Walmart in Arkansas to buy some underwear since I didn’t pack a single pair for myself.

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The thing about small kids and somber times is that on one hand, they are a nice distraction from the sadness. They just keep being kids and saying sweet things like, “I’m sad Nanny died. She was my best grandma. Why is bubba’s poop green sometimes?”

On the other hand, their candor makes grieving slightly uncomfortable. Like when your 4 year old raises his hand at the graveside to answer a question no one has asked. (Still no idea what he was going to say. No one was brave enough to call on him.)

Or when that same 4 year old watches the casket go by and ask-yells, “What’s in that box they’re carrying? Mom? Mommmmm? Why aren’t you answering?? What’s in the box??!”

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Over the past 2 years, we’ve had many conversations about death. When two of Hutton’s friends died within a few months of each other (one at 36 weeks in-utero, one the day before he turned 10 weeks old), we talked with Beckett often about death and grief and the joy of heaven.

(At one point I worried we might have oversold heaven, if that’s even possible, after he packed a suitcase and asked if we could leave rightthatsecond. And then cried when I said no.)

It’s a weird deal talking to kids about dying. I mean, it’s incredibly hard to reconcile as a grown adult, let alone as a preschooler.

But our sweet Beck…his little processor is so pure.

Like when we were eating breakfast next to Papa one morning and he said, “You said we had 4 sleeps in Arkansas. That means we have 1 more, but I’m not ready to leave yet. We’re the last ones here. Who will be the mommy when we go home? Who will take care of Papa like you take care of us?” {hold on, son, let me just sob into my raisin toast for a second}

Or how Nanny’s death has gotten us on the topic of our dog’s death again.

“When is Macky’s birthday again, mommy? What kind of a birthday party do you think God is going to throw him? I bet he’ll LOVE it!!”

At the funeral, my dad mentioned something he heard my Papa say while Nanny was in an especially rough stage of her illness.

He said, “I would spend every last dime I had to take care of Joann.”

And, you guys, he did. He loved her so well until her final breath.

Death is sad, but her death is not nearly as sad as it would be if we didn’t have hope that we would see her again. We will.

And in the interim, there’s no doubt in my mind she’s making creamed corn and keeping everyone in stitches with her “Nannyisms”.

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Papa, I hope you still know how to read my blog on your iPad, you tech-savvy whippersnapper, you.

Thank you for the legacy you and Nanny are leaving. And thank you for teaching us to love well.

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