Wednesday, 19 November 2008

My Wonderful Nan

Today has been a sad day, today was my grandmother's funeral.
She was fab, I shall miss her very much, we laughed a lot together and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had so much quality time with her in my adult life. My children adored her almost as much as I did.

So, we gathered at the church, a large and sad family. Sons, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends of grandchildren, and children of friends of grandchildren.

The sun shone and it was a lovely service and burial (as lovely as it could be), with tributes read out and some particularly dodgy hymn singing, and although I've cried many tears over losing her, I've decided to highlight the humour of the day, because indeed there always is some, and I could always make my Nan laugh, she loved to hear the ridiculous stories about life at Camp Frog.
I recall making her laugh so suddenly one day that she spat her tablets out..thankfully her teeth stayed in!

As we sat there today I thought about Darling Husband's friend's comments this week. He had been visited by a Jehovah Witness.
JW: Do you know what happens to you after you die?
Friend of DH: Yep, they put you in a box and drop you in a hole in the ground.
JW : Well that's not really what happens
Friend of DH: Well, I've been bearer at many a funeral and I can tell you, that's what happened every time.

The gentleman left, sadly shaking his head, fearing for Darling Husband's friend's soul.

The undertaker arrived and put up the stand at the front of the congregation, on which to stand the casket...We were once at a funeral and the undertaker did the same thing, carefully placing the trestles just so. Darling Husband leaned over and whispered "this really is not the time for putting wallpaper up".

The flowers were stunning and almost everyone wore something lilac because it was Nan's favourite colour.

Shirl was without question engaging in an Oscar winning performance at the graveside, so much so, I have wondered if she's been watching re-runs of Dallas! She had adorned herself in gold sunglasses and fur coat for the occasion. (Bear with me, you won't think I'm so mean in a mo)

We all retired to the local hostelry, which was once owned by my Great-Grandfather and indeed where many of us had spent happy hours as children.
Shirl had to be helped into the pub, such was her distressed state, which wasn't easy viewing.
Funerals are never easy, emotions run high and we were all a bit reluctant to say much for a while, but soon a row broke out, as they always do at funerals.
There were raised voices and pointing, others were called over and they joined in, sides were taken and no-one could sort out exactly where the Grandfather clock used to be. Beer flowed and we ate four times as many sandwiches as the pub had prepared in advance.

A man I'd seen in the church was introduced to Shirl and amazingly the tears stopped and Barbie re-appeared!! Gosh what talent to be able to change characters like that!

I know, you think I'm mean, but going from an inconsolable wreck to come up and see me some time was quite a transformation. She still managed her high heels, tight belt and leg-showing skirt. I could almost hear my dear Nan asking what the hell her daughter was playing at!!

And the punch line, I'm shocked and embarrassed, but as I can't tell my Nan, I'll tell you. Before we got into the car to travel the 40ish miles home I walked down to the Grave for another look at the flowers, and was surprised to see a few relatives also there.

"Aren't the flowers lovely" My Aunt said.
I started feeling tearful again.
My Aunt can read me like a book and continued with a tiny smile ", lovely, guess which ones are from your Mum (Shirl)?"

I looked at the flowers, huge cushions of white and lilac buds, a whole row of letters forming the word 'Mum', Sprays and Bouquets..obviously hundreds of pounds worth of flowers.

"I don't know" I said quietly.

"The Cyclamen" said my Aunt and laughed and laughed.

Amongst all the beautiful arrangements was a single potted Cyclamen; a pink potted cyclamen, and this for the wonderful lady whose favourite colour was lilac, and from the monied daughter who was clearly the most devastated about her passing.

"She said they didn't have any lilac flowers left"

Well, there is a credit crunch on I suppose !

Can I make a public plea..if ever I get that mean, shoot me..


Expat mum said...

So sorry for your loss, but thank you for making me laugh too!

Frog in the Field said...

Thank you Expat Mum

Potty Mummy said...

Frog, thinking of you. And you're right - you couldn't make it up.

Frog in the Field said...

Thank you Potty....
I forgot another funny fact of the day...we had to leave and get home before it got dark because Darling Husband had to find the Bull he's lost...!!!
How can you lose a Bull? I found one on my bloody lawn this morning, but alas, not the correct missing one... I despair Potty, I really do!

Tattie Weasle said...

Thinking of you and yours and sending lilac hugs. A wonderful post, truly great. Your Nan I'm sure would be so proud!

Jo Beaufoix said...

So sorry for your loss Frog. Glad you could find some smiles amongst all the sadness. I still miss my Gran and I lost her when I was 11. Some people are just special aren't they? Take care.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you - and the bravery to find some humour in a dark situation. I'm sure that's what your gran would have wanted.

If I see a lost looking bull I'll send him your way.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

So sorry to hear about your Nan. My Granda is still going strong at 92 and a half. I'm hoping he'll last a few more years yet. You did raise more than a smile here...I've decided that relatives can be an absolute mystery (some of them anyway). Stay close to the ones who make you laugh (even the memories)....they'll help you through life's travails...

Kitschen Pink said...

Oh honey! Losing your nan sucks especially to know your little ones are feeling it too - I've never thought losing a goldfish or a puppy was sufficient bereavement experience for these events - whatever plonker ever suggested such a thing?!
Re. the cyclamen - at least it wasn't a cellophane wrap of pinks saying 'Tesco. Buy one get one free'....x

Kerry said...

I'm very sorry for your loss Frog - I was brought up by my Grandparents and am dreading the day I will have to say goodbye. That said my Great Gran is still alive and kicking at the age of 99 so am hoping they have some of her longevity!

My Gran's favourite colour is lilac too btw - it's such a Gran colour!

As for Shirl - is anyone else thinking of LiLo Lil from Bread? For some reason your description really brought her to mind...

nappy valley girl said...

Very sorry to hear about your Nan.

You're right; funerals are times of heightened emotions - and people's true colours tend to come out. We were at one last weekend (the Doctor's granny) and there were several nearly-rows, comedy moments (eg. the Doctor's aunt's face when someone she didn't know turned up with a baby in a pram) and a near disaster (over-enthusiastic brother in law setting off fireworks afer the wake and narrowly missing scarring his daughter for life...). All in all, a stressful time for all - but a fitting send off for a granny who always caused her fair share of family dramas.

Mean Mom said...

Sorry about your nan. I'm sure that she will be watching over you.

Funerals can often be tragic and comical affairs. I blogged about one I went to a few days ago, where a humdinger of a row broke out between my 2 cousins. Oh how we laughed - later! At the time, I was mortified.

You've lost a bull? He's not in with the cows, by any chance, is he?

Adventure Mother said...

So sorry to hear of your loss.

We did a lot of laughing and crying last year when we lost both my gran and my father-in-law. It's strange how little things can make you laugh at such a sad time.

Iota said...

I'm sorry about your Nan, but thank you for writing this, and yes, there is always some dark humour to be had on these occasions.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I only hope that my grandchildren love and treasure me the way you loved and treasured your grandmother. If they do I will have done job well as well as she did.

Susanna (A Modern Mother) said...

Froggy, sorry to hear about your grandmother.

Families -- aren't they interesting? They certainly give you something to write about.

dulwichmum said...

Poor Frog,

What a loss.

I don't know about you sweetie, you always manage to find the funny side.

Bea x

A Confused Take That Fan said...

What a brilliantly written post. So touching and funny. Amazing that you managed to fit in a bull to a piece about a funeral. Shirl sounds a character. And isn't it strange how a row can start about something as trivial as where a clock used to be in a pub? I can just imagine it... said...

Frog, i am sorry about your gran. They're such allies aren't they. Funny that. Funny that that generational gap can give rise to such staunch friendships. You'd imagine that the age difference would forge a distance, but it doesn't, so that all through obnoxious teens often it's our grans that get the best out of us. I'm glad you were able to find some laughter in the day though, i expect your gran would have liked to konw that.

Sparx said...

Hello Frog, I'm so sorry to hear about your Nan, I lost mine this year and it's a painful time. Not sure I should have found your comments so amusing though... er... anyway, something for you over at mine...

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

How did you make such a sad tale so utterly engaging!
So sorry for your loss Frog.

And by the way, just love your hubby's friend: "Do you know what happens to you after you die?"
"Yep, they put you in a box and drop you in a hole in the ground."
Love it!

(sorry if you're thinking 'who the hell is this stranger being all familiar?'. It's still the same old Tara, well not so much OLD, but I've moved! Sites that is, not house.

Mom/Mum said...

Oh frog - sorry for your loss. But your talent to write such a moving and funny piece all at the same time is as astounding as your life.

She's like the wind said...

Hi Frog, so sorry for your loss and fully understand your feelings, my Granny just died in October, loved the humour I'm sure your Nan was laughing too. Take care xx