These two women have known each other longer than their children have been dating (and eventually married). Their friendship goes back more than 40 years.
Seeing them look after one another all these years has been an absolute privilege. The fact that my family is lucky enough to still have them is blessing enough, but to see the love they have for each other is a blessing of indescribable magnitude.
In fact, it is their love for one another that helped build the strong family I know and love. It was never an "our side vs. your side" type of relationship. They understood when their children became involved that they were, in fact, one unit whose sole purpose was supporting and loving the family that grew out of that union.
And what a splendid job they've done.
Seeing Gram holding Nanny's hand and telling her to stay strong and hold close to the Faith - it moved me to tears. I kept blinking them away, determined to be strong for them - these two women who have been impossibly strong for us.
I snapped this photo as Gram was telling her, "Now you get strong so we can have ourselves some pound cake."
Gram then winked at me and said, "We love our pound cake. Always have."
She turned her attention back to Nanny and kissed her along her hairline. "I love you, Lena. I'm here."
Then she sat back down to continue her vigil alongside her two daughters, myself, and Uncle Frankie.
For several moments I couldn't speak. Speaking would've required the use of my throat, but the lump of unuttered emotion trapped there made it impossible. So I sat next to Nan, holding her hand, just offering a silent prayer of thanksgiving for these two incredible women and the example of love they gave to their families.
Love endures. These beautiful women are proof of that. God bless them now and always.