My gran’s funeral was yesterday. It went off as well as these things can. I did a reading – just about managed to make it all the way through before losing my composure a little. Anyway – this is what I read.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
(from The Tempest)
When I was a child, no-one had a Gran quite like mine. If they still had them, theirs were all the quietly spoken, tea-total, church-going, blue-rinse, twin-set and pearl types. Miss Marples who never swore, or had rude thoughts, or said anything shocking. Boring in other words. My Gran could never have been accused of being boring or forgettable. So many of my friends who were lucky enough to meet her have sent me sympathy messages – recounting their own special memories of her.
Mum always said to me I should have a better relationship with her, because I wouldn’t want regrets when this time came. I think that however things had been, there would always be some regret when such a great spirit moves on. I think in later years, the differences between us seemed so great, that we struggled to find common ground. But now, looking back, I am struck by our similarities in a way which is quite comforting.
She liked a drink. A bit too much maybe. As do I.
She loved my mum. A bit too much maybe. As do I.
She loved all things weird and wonderful, vampires, witches and ghouls. Like me.
She was strong, and independent, and feisty – like me on a good day.
She was opinionated – like me on a bad day.
She was stubborn, caring, generous to a fault
She had a lot of sadness, but carried on regardless
She knew how to have a good time.
She didn’t like to make a fuss.
Looking at photos of her up to a few years ago – she’s always laughing, (probably a bit tipsy – all the best photos are taken when drunk I find.) She certainly gave us plenty of laughs over the years. Complimenting mum on a new dress “you look nice, cheap, but nice” Greeting my room-mate from college “Hello, why are you drinking a pint? Only hussies drink pints” Saying hello when I visited her a while ago “well, aren’t you a nice big fat thing”.
Never with malice though. She just said what she thought. And why not.
The last time she spoke to me was in a dream. She woke up, sat up, the colour back in her cheeks and told me and my mum to give her a hug and stop looking miserable. In another dream, I saw her leave us in a party – quietly getting her coat and hat, picking up her bag – not wanting us to stop having fun just because she needed to go. She was at the party a long time. She had things to do, somewhere else to be, people to see.
Wherever she’s gone now – she’s still here. In me, in my mum – in all my cousins, and in the hearts and memories of anyone whoever knew her. She’s not someone you could ever forget.