Remembering My Grandma Nancy and Aunt Linda

Over the past couple of months, my family lost two loved ones to cancer. We had to say goodbye to two spunky ladies with an unbelievable zest for life.

Around Thanksgiving, we lost my grandmother, who we affectionately called Grandma Nancy.

My Grandmother was the kindest, most generous person you’d ever meet. Never a holiday passed that we didn’t receive a card or small token of her love. She always thought of my parents, my sister, my husband, my children and me.

Our spunky, classy lady never went anywhere without cherry red lipstick.

Grandma Nancy told the most amazing stories, such as the time she picketed the streets of Manhattan for PETA or when she walked from City Hall hand-in-hand with co-workers to escape the dust of the collapsing World Trade Center.

While decorating our tree this Christmas, we peeled away tissue paper from precious ornaments and unveiled even more precious memories of Grandma Nancy. Dozens of ornaments, gifts from Grandma Nancy, glistened in the lights of our Christmas tree and it transformed into a memorial to my grandmother. Our beautiful tree made for a somber holiday.

Then, my Aunt Linda passed away on Friday. Like a sister from another mother, Aunt Linda and my mother were best friends for close to 60 years. She had a wicked sense of humor and could make a joke about any topic. Nothing was too serious and the stories my mother and Aunt Linda told about their antics from Forest Hills always had us in stitches.

As a SAHM and swim mom, Aunt Linda raised three children (two boys and a girl) who led successful careers and more importantly, gave her three gorgeous grandchildren. Later in life when the kids had long left the nest, she traveled the country with her husband to complete in triathlons.

Although they led completely different lives (one in Queens, the other in a New York minute), these ladies were similar in so many ways. They took chances and never allowed a little illness slow them down. Above all, family came first. I admired my Aunt Linda and Grandma Nancy more than they will ever know.

All I can do now is be the kind of woman and mother they were. I can live with the same zest and love for life they shared. I can let the people I care about know how much they mean to me with small tokens and gestures of love.

And I swear I will live.

Lyrics from One Republic’s I Lived

Hope that you fall in love
And it hurts so bad
The only way you can know
Is give it all you have

And I hope that you don’t suffer
But take the pain
Hope when the moment comes
You’ll say…

I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived

Hope that you spend your days
But they all add up
And when that sun goes down
Hope you raise your cup

I wish that I could witness
All your joy and all your pain
But until my moment comes
I’ll say…

I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived


From start to finish, Denise is Run DMT, a Tampa Bay marathon mom on the run trying to maintain an easy pace through it all between races and raising three beautiful, brilliant children (ages 13, 9, 4). In 2007, I discovered a passion for running and in February 2015, I completed my tenth marathon, however, I continue to train for a variety of races and triathlons. In my spare time, I founded Tampa Bay Bloggers, a hyperlocal blogging network.

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  1. Andrea S. says:

    Beautiful, Denise. Love that you posted the lyrics to that song. Sounds like the perfect song for those two wonderful ladies. I, too, lost very close loved ones super close together back in 2011, my father and his sister, three months apart. My father passed in September three days before my daughter’s birthday and my Aunt in December just before Christmas and I was also pregnant at the time. It was a very rough time, to say the least, and I feel for you. You and your family are in my thoughts and I pray that the wonderful memories keep you smiling.

  2. Beth Blacker says:

    First and foremost, my condolences to you and your family. It is never easy losing a loved one no matter how old we get. I went through a similar experience losing my grandfather and mother in less than 4 months. While my grandfather was 96 and had lived a very long and happy life, I can’t help but still feel my mother, at 65, had way too many years left to live. May they all rest in peace.

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