Saturday, October 19, 2013



It has been a tough several days for the family  as my wonderful mother in law, Helen Sullivan, (Nana) died  a few days ago. Not only was she a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt and mother-in-law she was also a good friend to me. You can throw out all those mother-in-law jokes, Nana was a special person in my life. I can't imagine what the past 45 years would have been like without her playing a large part of it. I loved her as much as my own mother. We never had one argument or disagreement. She took care of our kids, we had all those great times in Topsfield with the Sunday afternoon cookouts, after swimming in the pool., all those wonderful vacations in Maine, all the holidays together- just wonderful, wonderful times.

And Nana would always listen to my stories, even if she had heard them before! And she was always asking me about the projects I was working on  and wanted to see my most recent paintings. But Nana was more than a mother-in-law to me. She was also my friend, Many times I would go to the Cape to visit my mother and then on the way home stop to see her and spend the night. We would talk about all kinds of topics- Boston sports, politics, relatives, current events, restaurants on the North Shore. We would go for fried clams a lot, usually at the Clam Box. But more than that, she gave me advice  on many life topics and that meant so much to me and helped me immensely. I will miss those talks.

And I have special thoughts for all of Nana's grandchildren. They were all very close to her. They visited her, called her often, and wrote her. And she visited and stayed overnight with so many of them and was a big part of their life. And Nana was so proud of each and every one. Every time I visited Nana she would give me an update on each one of them, telling me what they were up to. And just recently she was talking about buying a present for her great grandson Chase.
I hope all the grandchildren treasure those memories and remember all the good times. My grandmothers died many years ago but I still have fond memories of being with them and think of them every week still. One grandmother lived with us for a few years and I can remember sitting on her bed with her listening to radio shows and when she had her own apartment, going over there to have home made cookies.

And the North Shore has lost one of its biggest advocates. Nana knew all the roads, all the shortcuts, all the restaurants and all the history. She was a walking Chamber of Commerce, and the Boston sports teams have lost one of their biggest fans.

Nana's legacy to all of us is: love of family, instilling a wonderful sense of values in all of us, and a strong faith in the Catholic Church, receiving communion on a regular basis, even as she declined. As we take Nana to her rest in a few days, let us not weep. Let us celebrate the wonderful 96 years she lived and the great memories she left us. May God bless and keep Helen Welch Sullivan. I miss you Nana.