My grandmother, Lena Faye Bridges Cockrell, or Nana as I called her, was the most influential adult in my formative years. She and I were close, possessing an altogether uncanny understanding of one another. She taught me to make biscuits from scratch when I was six, how to use a typewriter when I was nine, and gave me safe haven when I came out as gay at sixteen. She made time to attend my theater performances, bought me school clothes every year and always professed her belief in me. To others, her opinions were intractable, her pursuit of perfection was inflexible, and her judgments were implacable. To me, her love was unmistakable.
On Sunday, September 21, 2014, my grandmother passed away at age 87. It was also her birthday. Last year I shared two short Nana-inspired writings to honor her memory. On the recent anniversary of her birth and crossing over, I’d like to share another: