My Nana passed away last Friday, March 14, 2008. She was truly an amazing woman. I shared a lot of special memories with her. She and I were even in the same social club at ACU. I just pledged 48 years after she did! Below are some pictures of her and the speech I delivered at her funeral.
Nana and Nolan
My words cannot do justice to what a truly amazing woman my Nana, Lorah Dean Richey was. We are all grieving the loss of a remarkable Christian lady. She was a grandmother, mother, wife, sister, and friend to all of us. I am sure each of you here today could share a special way she touched your life. When I was considering what to say today, one theme stayed constant. She was the most selfless, generous woman I have ever known. She always put everyone else first. Today, I’d like to share some examples.
First of all, Nana was a great cook. I don’t mean just a good cook. It was fantastic. I remember many holidays awaiting the beautifully presented dinner. Her carrots were the best. No offense, Mom, but you still haven’t perfected them. Even though she says she has given us the recipe, no one else can get quite the same taste. It must have been her special love for her family that she poured into that recipe. Throughout all of the holiday meals, there was always one assurance. Nana would always be the last one still eating! We were always waiting for Nana to finish eating. But, I know why she was always last. She loved to listen to everyone’s stories. And she was the best listener. She would put her fork down and for that moment, all of her attention was on you, while she slowly sipped her coffee, of course. Nana loved her coffee. I am not sure I ever saw her eat a meal without drinking coffee. When everyone started to leave the table, she would finish her meal and then start the hard work of cleaning.
As Nana would finish cleaning the dishes after a meal, we would all start setting up a game at the dining room table, usually Boggle. To this day, I am not sure I have EVER beat Nana or Papaw at Boggle. With their 2 large, well-worn dictionaries setting on the table, they were ready to protest any word they had never heard of. Papaw would try to sneak a few “new” words in there and I can hear Nana saying, “Oh, Doyle. That is not a word. Look it up!” She loved games. She was so patient with her grandchildren when teaching us new games. She and Papaw would do the Daily Jumble in the newspaper everyday. There was always friendly, loving competition going on with them. And, oh, how she adored Papaw! What a fabulous example of true love. I use to love to watch them on the couch. Papaw laying one direction and Nana’s head on the other end of the couch as they rubbed each other’s feet. (And if you ever saw Nana’s feet, Papaw must have really loved her!) Or watching her rub Papaw’s head. Mom even saw her do this just last week. And Nana gave the best backrubs. It is truly a miracle that her hand did not fall off with how many backrubs she gave Kelly and I. And they were long! She would lay between us and rub my back and tickle Kelly’s back (we were picky grandchildren, but she never complained.) Just when she thought we were asleep, she would try to sneak out of the bed and we’d say in whiny little voices, “Nana, I’m not asleep yet!” And she’d come back and rub our backs for probably another 30 minutes. What an incredible grandmother!
Another example of her unselfish spirit was that she would take her grandkids to swim at the country club all afternoon. She would sit in the hot sun for hours as we would request, “just 30 more minutes!” You see, Nana didn’t swim. Not because she was afraid of messing up her hair -- she couldn’t swim.
But, she could paint. She was an amazing artist. Although her paintings were never finished in her eyes. And she could always see something else that needed to be done. Kelly and Sara, you did get this talent from her. But there are a lot of other, not so wonderful traits we would tease her for giving us. Every ailment we have in the family seems to come from Nana. David’s diabetes, my broken tailbone, Mom’s low blood pressure, ALL our bad feet. She was good natured with all our ribbing. Sometimes she would even join in, saying, “Well, they didn’t get that one from me!”
And I wish I had Nana’s singing talent. I loved to sit next to her at church and listen to her sing as she praised the Lord. She used her voice to glorify Him. She was an example to all of us. She showed us what a Christian wife and mother looked like. She led by example, and she was a wonderful teacher.
She taught in Comanche for 21 years. And she taught her children and grandchildren daily. She would read to us every night when we stayed with them. She even encouraged a reluctant Brandon to read. There were always people coming up to her in the store saying, “Hi, Mrs. Richey.” When we asked her who they were, she’d say, “Oh, I taught them many years ago.” And she probably attended their sporting events. Nana loved to watch sports. Any sport. Figure skating. Baseball. Golf. She spent a lot of time in the stands cheering on James and David. I believe the Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks may have just lost their biggest fan. Nana would stay up to watch the last innings of the Rangers games.
She didn’t just watch sports, she attempted to play golf. She wanted to spend time with Papaw and have a little friendly competition, so she took up golf. She just couldn’t keep up with Papaw. You see, Papaw’s a little impatient. She got used to just hurrying up to keep up with him. Once, when she was trying to teach Kelly and I how to play, she was so used to just jumping in the cart and taking off, that she took off while I was attempting to put my golf club back in the bag. With my club half way in, I chased after the cart while Kelly just turned around and laughed at me. She finally told Nana to stop. Even with her being 70 years old, I could not keep up with her on the golf course.
Whether she was sending someone a birthday card, cooking for a family at church, rubbing someone’s back, or just giving you that reassuring smile, you knew she was doing it with love in her heart.
We will most miss her generous spirit. Her smile. Her calm voice. Her soft hands. And her huge heart. We love you, Nana.