A few years back I was introduced to Wanda and Eric through a friend of her beloved niece,
Wanda needed some help getting things done and I couldn't have been more pleased
We'd venture out on errands, do some shopping, and make the occasional doctor visit
But mostly we'd talk and share stories with each other, exchanges most exquisite
Wanda cared greatly for those around her; she always put them first,
The folks at the IHOP, the nurses, therapists and all greeted her with joy unrehearsed.
Whether sharing tales of childhood, or her career, or her work with youth to get them set,
Or pushing for women's rights in the work place, a wiser woman I've never met.
Recently at Park Valley Inn, I told her of Mace my cat and Sapphire my grand dog,
I caught them sleeping head to head upon the bed, which left me agog!
She uttered something, though I thought she might have been sleeping low,
"how much longer was it before it began to snow?"
Her Humor never left her, nor her love for animals, especially Harper,
She was blessed by the love of her life, Eric< who brought him up to see her.
I witnessed their love firsthand and I am a little jaded,
But this love between Wanda and Eric will live on and never become faded.
My life is richer for having know this beautiful, youthful soul,
Making the world better for family, friends and creatures all was her ultimate goal.
She'll be watching over us from Heaven as we go through each and every day,
I thank God above for the friendship and love I receive from Wanda May.
Love- Carole Lynne Womac Thorp August 20, 2016
My Aunt Nana has been known by this name for a long time. It comes from when her sister Dorothy could not say Wanda but only 'Nana". So my mother, Janice, called her Aunt Nana and as her great niece, Tina so did I.
Aunt Nana was a great source of support to me and I felt more connected to her than my own mother. From the age of 12 when I went to visit her, then living in Houston, we really connected. From then on, Aunt Nana looked out for me. We corresponded initially by letter and then by email. Once email came on line we were in touch much more; every few weeks. It was this constant keeping in touch that made our relationship so special- we knew what was going on in each other's lives; perhaps not all the detail but a strong thread of important issues. This made it so easy when I visited her unexpectedly in 2006 with my second son Mathew, and we were able to add to that thread. I saw her then again in 2007 as I was worried that I would not have long with here as each year passed. This would be the last time I saw her in person, though we continued to email up to the time of her last stroke and then we spoke on the telephone.
Aunt Nana told me some years ago that she offered for me to come and live with her and Uncle Eric when I was pregnant at 15 with my first son James. I don't remember this, I was only 15. but I have often wondered how different my life could have been. The work I do now as a Health Visitor, specializing in public health for the under 5s, makes me feel sure had social services been aware of my family, we would have been on child protection plans and possibly removed from their care. Aunt Nana loved me unconditionally, encouraged me, listened to me and guided me as a mother would.
Aunt Nana was a young woman for many years and she lived her life being young in an old body. She was connected-literally- the internet kept her so sharp and in touch with the world and politics. Aunt Nana welcomed her role in the family and took in many friends as family. She took great care to stay in touch with her family all over the states and me away in England. I remember stories of looking after my mother and uncle when they were babies as her sister was not well after delivery. She also told me stories of asking the Red Cross to look for her sister and family when my Grandfather was in the Army and they lost touch. The stories of looking after my Uncle Lee when he was a teenager. She cared deeply for her family and sadly saw so many pass away before her. Aunt Nana was a very wise, generous & loving woman who gave to those around her.
Aunt Nana loved her life even when it was hard; from her childhood into her elderly years. She loved Eric very much and was thankful that they had a long and happy marriage. Aunt Nana was always grateful for her life. Even as she aged, she used to say to me "I have had a good life and I am grateful for that."
Aunt Nana was a strong woman, a fighter. I wonder sometimes if she got this from her grandmother who was half Cherokee. She used to tell me stories of my great, great grandmother and how intelligent (not in a bookish way but in a knowing way) and feisty she was. She had been so fortunate to have a young body for so long and was able to pass on her love, kindness, generosity and wisdom to others.
I will miss her so much. Her death still comes to me with a great shock at times. The time that I shared with her was precious and her memories will always comfort me.
"To Eric or those who may be left---
Do not look for me here
Do not look for me there
I am not here
I am not there
I live in the breadth of the wind that touches your face
In the feel of sun that warms your skin
in the grandeur of mountains, trees, sky, in sunsets
and now I roam free, caressing the things I love, and replenishing the earth
"Wanda came into my life in the early 60's. She was so smart and very admired for the great job she did. We worked for a group of professional men and Wanda was able to handle all their projects. After we both left for different jobs, we remained friends. I always felt I could talk to her and she was wise in her advice. We did vacations and trips together and she was fun to be with. She fought for women's rights. This was a lady who had it all together. She loved animals and had many pets that were rescues. She is sorely missed and when things happen I think I must tell Wanda. Though she is not with us, her spirit is forever here. She was my very best friend and I am very blessed to have her in my life"
"My Aunt Nana was my first Mother. My mother had some difficulties after my birth and Aunt Nana took care of me for several months. We formed a bond that was never broken- a little stretched at times but never broken. She was my aunt, mu mentor but most of all my friend. There was only a few years' difference in our ages- 18 years. She was always someone I could talk to, laugh with and cry with. She saw that I went to college, introduced me to different types of music, helped me become a good man. She would always tell me the truth, whether I was right or wrong or just silly".
We spent a lot of time apart due to my Army career. But when we spoke, emailed , or had the opportunity to be together, we were instantly in tune. There were times in our relationship that we were mad at each other and didn't speak for a few years. I regret that time that we lost. You see, I thought she would always be there. It was only as I got older that I realized that she couldn't do that- that life doesn't work that way.
I miss her and always will. I know that we will meet when God decides it is time. In the meantime I will cherish the memories I have of her and our lives together.
I want to thank Eric for the love and devotion he gave to Aunt Nana. He is one of the best men I know and I will pray for him the rest of my days.
My life has been and will always be because Aunt Nana was always there. I love her and always will.