I really wanted to say something today.
This Remembrance ceremony has been in the works since my Nanny’s funeral the 5th January of this year. I would have thought it’d be a “no-brainer” to find words to speak at this beautiful woman’s interment. It would be fitting as I’m “Number One” of the fourteen grandchildren. I keep a journal at my bedside, in my purse and here, on the coffee table where I bang out all these words everyday. Nothing came. Not a damn thing.
I dreamed dreams. I dreamed of an auburn-haired girl of about six, running through a field of yellow daffodils, in pursuit of a slightly older auburn-haired girl under a brilliant blue sky. I ran after them but I was who I am now and even though I called after the younger, she didn’t hear me. She never turned away from the giggling chase of her older sister, even when I called to her in Welsh, which I don’t speak…
Just last week, I told my Mum that no, I wouldn’t be doing a reading and it’s fair to say that the complications of PTSD and the Agoraphobia that can be crippling at times, factored into my decision. Even in the loving arms of my family, I am painfully aware of the ADD that trips my tongue, colours my cheeks and has me antsy and feverish and in other situations, caused an unkind assessment of my drinking habits! … I couldn’t do it. Not even for Nanny. I knew she’d get it and the family too.
There were words… Of course there were. I’m a writer, a poet. I count my leanings that way and my singing voice as being some of the gifts from this branch of my family tree. I just couldn’t grab hold of them long enough to shape them in ink on the page… or have keystrokes capture them, as it were. I was frustrated by this. This should be a simple task, to say what my Grandmother meant to me and frustration turned to chagrin. I could turn out blog posts and Instagram nonsense but nothing meaningful for today.
This morning as I lay in bed, the air was warm and heavy and redolent with the scent of rain to come. I hoped the sun that lurked behind the pearly sky would hold for the outdoor gathering and finally, I had an epiphany… still too flowery as I try to capture it here but heartfelt nonetheless.
This woman was one of the first people to hold me. Her voice and lilting laugh are among the first sounds I heard. Her glorious auburn hair and delicate features among the first sights to imprint themselves on my eyes. Her music, her talent with thread and needle, her love of shoes, knowledge of couture, a signature scent and love for the colour purple all passed to me in my own Mum’s womb.
How could any words that I think or pen, convey the depth and breadth of the impact of Evelyn May Collins on my life? How do you describe someone who has gifted you with her own legacy, has been one of those who helped you to learn to speak?
“I love you Nanny. Eleventy Hundred”
~ ‘Karn Liz
9 May 2015