The Love of a “Nana”




The Love of a “Nana”

by

L.T. Force, Ph.D.

Gerontologist


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Nana: (definition)

“Someone you can call on when you need them and they'll be there within a blink of an eye. A beautiful person on the inside and out. Someone you can depend on all the time, to love and treat you right. She's the best at her job and the wisest person I know. She is so kind and considerate and will do anything to make you happy.” (urbandictionary.com)

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I agree with this definition above. Harriet Guy Force was my grandmother (my Father’s mother) aka “Nana”. When my grandfather died, “Nana” came to live with us - I was 4 years old. She was a wonderful person and added many things to the lives of my brothers, myself and our whole entire family .


My field of interest is in the area of the psychology of aging. Professionally, I refer to myself as a Gerontologist.


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Gerontologist: (definition)

Gerontology is the study of the social, cultural, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects of aging. The word was coined by Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov in 1903, from the Greek γέρων, geron, "old man" and -λογία, -logia, "study of".[1][2][3][4] The field is distinguished from geriatrics, which is the branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of existing disease in older adults. Gerontologists include researchers and practitioners in the fields of biology, nursing, medicine, criminology, dentistry, social work, physical and occupational therapy, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, economics, political science, architecture, geography, pharmacy, public health, housing, and anthropology. (Wikipedia)

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Years ago, I was asked by one of my sons: “Why do you study aging?” My answer was twofold. The first reason, I have an interest in the study of aging - is because of “Nana”. Growing up, I was surrounded by her and her older friends. (Picture above: Nana on left - her friend Francis Goheen on the right.....me in the center....listening to important lessons of life). I was a witness to the lived experience of aging. The second response I gave my son - as to why I study the: “process of aging” was more general. My answer was: “because aging is something we all do”.

As I look back on the beginning of my career - both answers are accurate - on a personal level it was: “the influence of Nana”…..as to a professional level - it was because: “aging is a phenomena and process universally experienced by all of us”.

So, why do I write this reflection today? The reason is, because today July 26th is Nana’s Birthday. She lived with me (and my family) from when I was age 4 until I was 16 years of age. Today, she would have been 127 years of age (not feasible.… but only if....). She died at the age of 74….53 years ago.

She influenced my childhood….my adulthood….and the intergenerational stories throughout my family system. However, although time has passed….her love and care still resonates to this day. Think about your own life. We all have a "Nana" in our life....they may appear in different sizes, with different names but they are unequivocally there for us (see Nana definition above)....they truly are a Blessing!

Thanks Nana….you were the best!