Nan was a dear friend of mine growing up!! We met in second grade and even though we moved back and forth alot during my elementary school years Nan and I remained good friends. As we became teenagers and adults we were inseparable. About 3 months after Nan married her husband, Matt Wallace, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Thankfully it was only on one ovary and they were able to spare the other ovary and after months of chemo and all that she went through, she was able to go on and have 2 wonderful pregnancies and two beautiful children. Nan was returning for her 5 year check up to get the all clear from her doctor when she received some horrible news, her cancer was back, and not only was it back, but it had spread and was in her limp nodes. She was given a year and a half to live. Her children were so young and Nan couldn't bear the thought of leaving them and them not remembering her. I was 8 years old when my mother died and I remember her asking me all the time, how much I remembered about my mother. I didn't tell her, but most of my memories are what others have told me about her. Nan was determined to live long enough for her children to remember her!! (Nan lived over 5 years after her second diagnoses). She was so strong and her faith kept her going...I can remember Matt was so wonderful to always call us if something was going wrong, because he knew how much it meant to me to be there if anything happened to her...Well, Matt would call and Tommy and I would rush to the hospital getting there before the Ambulance sometimes and Nan would say I don't know what all the fuss is about I am not going anywhere and sure enough they would release her within a few hours to go home. She was such a great mom, she attended all Matthew's ball games and Ashley's dance recitals and everything...oxygen tank and all!! I remember Matt having to carry her into our house for Chase's 2nd birthday party, but she wouldn't have missed it!! I have learned so much from Nan, she loved the Lord, her husband, and her children and she did everything in her power to show them that love everyday. I remember my 30th birthday, she called me and wanted me to come to her house, she had a gift for my birthday. We were talking and I stupidly said I can't believe I am 30 years old and I made a comment about how OLD I was, stuff like that and Nan said I am just glad I made it to be 30! I didn't think I would! I felt like such an idiot!! Now I celebrate every birthday to the fullest and I am thankful for everyday. I am now 40 years old and I am proud to be!! Just 20 days after my birthday on June 28, 1998, Matt called me and said it was time and I needed to come to the house, when Tommy and I arrived there were members of Nan's church already there along with her family. Nan was sitting in the recliner, all 80lbs of her, reading the Bible. Matt's mom and dad had taken the kids because we all knew it was time. Nan read the scriptures aloud until she couldn't read anymore and Matt took over. Nan's sister Melinda knelt down at Nan's feet and was crying, I knelt down to comfort Melinda, I wanted so much for Nan to know that I was there and that I loved her!! As I was trying to comfort Melinda, Nan reached down and held my hand...I knew then that she did know I was there!! We stayed into the wee hours of the morning singing praises to God and reading scripture, but as people were starting to leave. I told Tommy as much as I wanted to be there with Nan, I felt we should leave her with her family. Matt called me about 5:00a to tell me that Nan had gone on to be with the Lord. She was asleep on the couch, she wanted to get up and brush her teeth and hair. Melinda tried to convince her that she was fine, but Nan said that she didn't want to meet Jesus with bad breath :) So they helped her to the bathroom, she brushed her teeth and hair, she laid back on the couch and she was gone!
I still miss her everyday!! I wrote an article on the first anniversary of her death and published it in the Newnan paper. I wrote another little piece on the 10th anniversary of her death as well, I have had it on my myspace page, but I have been thinking alot about Nan today and I wanted to post it here on our blog page.
This is the article:
June 29th was the 10th anniversary of the death of Nan Fleming Wallace. She was a dear friend and I still miss her. After the first anniversary of her death, I wrote an article about her and put it in the Newnan paper. I now live in Wake Forest , North Carolina but I wanted to do that again for this anniversary. I tried for a long time to make something sound right – make it sound worth putting in the paper to memorialize her. I soon realized that nothing I could write could truly do justice to her memory but I had to try anyway.
Nan was a precious friend; she was my best friend – the best of the best. The past 10 years have been empty without her. Not a day goes by that I don't still think of her in some way or another. When someone says, "This tastes awful, here try it" or "This smells horrible, here smell it", my daughter, Chase, and I laugh about it all the time remembering that it was her who first pointed out the absurdity of those statements. Even though Chase was only two when Nan died, she knows Nan through my eyes because I talk about her and laugh about things we did. Nan 's memories live on in my cherished stories that I share still to this day with those who are dear to me.
Although Nan is gone from this earth, she has never left my heart or my mind. I suspect other people have many similar fond memories of her. To those of you who knew her, take some time today to honor her memory: think about this wonderful woman who loved the Lord, loved her family and loved her friends and share your memories with others. It has been 10 years since she left us but part of her never will.
I love you and miss you so much Nan!!
Heidi DewBerry (as Nan called me)