Submitted by Jenna Printup Weaver
Young girls can be strongly influenced by the women in their life. Such was the case for Jenna. Growing up she spent a lot of time with her great-grandmother who was lovingly referred to as Nanny. She was a petite, soft-spoken Italian woman whose loving presence grounded the entire family. When her husband died, the decision was made for her to move in with her daughter, Rose; Jenna’s grandmother. Jenna loved going to see them. She would spend hours with Nanny watching TV and reading books. Over time she learned to appreciate the same passion for flowers and music that her Nanny had, with lilies being their absolute favorite.
Jenna was thirteen when Nanny passed and although it was a sad time for her, there were moments that she could feel Nanny’s presence. It was always a comfort knowing Nanny was there. It wasn’t until she began driving, however, that Jenna started receiving her strongest signs. She attended Midnight Mass every year and each time it was the same. Upon entering the church she would feel a slight gust of wind across her face and the overwhelming aroma of lilies. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was Nanny letting her know she was with her. For several years this went on, but eventually stopped.
Jenna continued on, growing up and experiencing life lessons along the way. One lesson proved to be very difficult and she found herself becoming very depressed. In spite of the rough time she was going through, she managed to get herself up and go to her traditional Midnight Mass service. This time she was once again greeted with a gust of wind across her face and the overwhelming fragrance of lilies. Her heart welcomed the familiar presence that surrounded her. Nanny had come to comfort her and reassure her during such a trying time, that everything would be ok. Jenna continued to smell lilies every day for an entire week.
It was also during this rough time that Nanny visited Jenna in her dreams. She didn’t understand the dreams, but in each one Nanny would try to encourage Jenna to follow her. Jenna would try, but was completely unable to move. When she would awake from the dream there was always the strong scent of lilies in the room.
The dreams returned for several nights; always the same. The last dream, however, was a little different. This time she was able to talk to Nanny. Jenna questioned why she wanted her to follow her. Nanny replied, “You’ll find out one day.” The answer startled Jenna, but before she could say anything else, she woke up.
The next day when Jenna returned home she was amazed at what she saw. There on the doorstep was a beautiful lily. Attached to it was a note with only one word, “Smile.” Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked at it. She could hear the words Nanny said to her whenever she was upset, “Smile, it’ll be okay.”
Jenna has since moved forward and her challenges have changed to celebrations. She thanks her “Nanny” for the strength and comfort that got her through her personal trials and tribulations.