2 weeks ago my Nana died. She was 92, and she’s pictured here at her 90th birthday with Lincoln at only a few weeks old. We were close through my childhood and so I was asked to provide a few words that may be read out at her funeral service.
I had only seen her a handful of times in the past three or so years due to us living so far away, but also because she was discontented and generally grumpy. I have no bitterness over that. I figure she’s earnt the right from her immense lifelong sense of duty and whatever pain she may have been in. Not to mention she was ready to move on a couple of years ago.
So I composed my memories–written in a rather childlike style, (I suppose because these memories were all formed when I was a kid), but I also referred to her anti-social tendencies and her not very ‘politically correct’ views. It was my intention to provide humour for these points as they’ve never bothered me. I just found them funny.
However, I ended up editing the opening lines as it’s not the “old school” way to draw attention to negatives at a funeral. Maybe it isn’t, but I hope that when my time comes whoever may come together for my send off comes together to share funny stories and honest memories. And, in spite of my acknowledged flaws they love me anyway. We all have different relationships with different people and, as long as we recount our experience in a respectful manner, no one should feel defensive over another’s perspective.
A friend of mine says Nana ‘floated out’. It’s how her father described the passing of nursing home patients while he was on overnight nursing shifts. I reckon he’s right. She had some breakfast, had a laugh with nursing staff then around 10am on Wednesday she just drifted off to sleep. Sign me up to go that way, thanks.
And so, this past two weeks have been a time of remembering, discovering (my Uncle’s eulogy offered a wonderful insight into parts of Nana’s life that I hadn’t known about or remembered), and self reflection.
Nana and I had a lot in common. Some people may have thought she was a bit anti-social but I prefer to say we enjoy our own company; she had a sense of humour and I’ve realised that we have a similar sounding laugh. She loved the colour blue, cats, and Elvis. Sometimes when I stayed over during school holidays she would play her Elvis records and break out into a little song and dance. In the mornings, she would bring me a cup of tea and breakfast in bed, and at night she would tell stories of Fish & Chips, the fat and skinny cats. In the winter time she would sit in her lounge chair with the radiator on and her blanket and russian blue cat, Caesar, on her lap; in the summer she would make bowls of frozen coke and we would stand on the front lawn for ages watering her garden plants.
Rest in peace, Nana. 2nd December 2009.