Nona

by monochromesun

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August 24, 1933 – April 10, 2018

My grandmother, Joan, died last Tuesday, April 10th.  I was in Utah when I got the call from my mom.  I cried at my desk and then actually took a lunch to sit in silence in my car in a Chick-Fil-A parking lot.

I called her Nona, which is Italian for grandmother.  She is my mother’s mom, and was a complete riot – the life and center of every party.  Sometime after I was born she came to know Jesus and has loved the Lord ever since.

This is what I said at her funeral on Monday, April 23rd.

Joan Frankenfield was my Nona.  As her only granddaughter I took pride in knowing I made this dazzling diva a Nona.  We have always shared a deep connection, and in many ways, even more than she knew.  As a woman, now in my late twenties, and more comfortable with my craziness, I often wonder if my love for people and passion for “the party” matches hers.  My Nona has a roaring yearning for joy – this was most evident when I witnessed or heard stories of her provoking others.  For example: by adding pickled-pigs-feet to a stranger’s shopping cart, or changing the prices on a restaurant’s “specials” sign.  These sorts of things I find myself doing more and more.  And for this reason I now know why I once told my mom, “I’m more like Nona than anyone.”  

My husband recently took a survey about me, in which he answered “what annoys Sunny the most in life?” “People.” “What does Sunny love the most in life?” “People.”  When I heard this I immediately thought of Nona… I think her greatest joy was knowing and learning people… more than they were sometimes comfortable with.  She could make you part of the joke, but not with malevolence, rather a desire to be closer to you and appreciate you and see if you could handle it – not taking yourself seriously.  Nona could cut to the core of you in search of a connection.  And oh my stars, she was funny.  

In these last years [with dementia] I saw her joy for people in her eyes.  It was powerful.  Her desire to connect could not be taken away.  As I kissed her beautiful, soft hair the last time I saw her I thanked the Lord for placing me in the lineage of such a bold, engaged, creative, deep, witty, resplendent individual.  

God is good, and I know Him more by knowing others, with the same desire to connect as Nona had.  I cannot wait to love on her in heaven.

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