365 Days of Fun and Chillaxation – Blog#20 – Goodbye Gorgeous Old Lady
An unexpected thing happened today. My groovy Grandmother Joyce died. Now this may seem like sad news, and I’m sure a few of us have shed unusual amounts of tears today, but it’s also cause for celebration.
I’ve been preparing for this day for at least twenty years. She and I have been over it again and again. It all started during a conversation we shared on on Para Para beach back way when I was a gangly, tanned, spirited little girl who ran around in Adidas knicker shorts and old tee shirts. She and I were picking our way through the drift wood, soon after a pod of stranded whales had been buried on the beach. She’d been out there in the sea, trying to rescue them.
“You know, you’re getting old Gran. When do you think you’re going to die?” I inquired politely.
“I don’t know.” She paused to have a good think about it. “I’m not ready yet though, I’ll let you know when I am.”
And so began our two decade conversation about her future death. I brought it up each time we met, keen to be prepared for the moment when this women, who I so keenly loved, would depart this life, leaving me me all alone and Grandmother-less. It seemed inconceivable that this lady could ever not exist, not be up for phone calls, not be awake, praying for her loved one’s each morning.
So occasionally, just to keep myself primed, we discussed her funeral. She wanted a cardboard coffin and for some of her ashes to be scattered over Golden Bay. She wanted a celebration of her life. I felt we were had our ‘Gran’s Funeral Plan’ well under control.
A word about my Grandmother: she looked normal, but she was a total witch underneath it all. A good witch. Thanks to her I learned that the seemingly impossible, could most definitely exist. My first lesson in the absurd took place up at Gran and Granddad’s house in Richmond. The old lady got a strange glint in her eye and asked for a willow branch. It had to be shaped a certain way – one stick with two smaller sticks branching out from it, for one hand each to hold. Granddad obliged, she received her stick and began to lurch around the garden, seemingly only barely able to keep the thing under control.
“It keeps wanting to go down here!” She wheezed. “See that!”She said, nodding at the trembling , twitching stick “I’m not doing it! There’s water down there!”
I watched on, stunned. My practical, meat and three veggies up-bringing was highly at odds with my Grandmother’s behavior. Yet she had a good track record. As far as I’d ever known, she’d kept every promise to me and had never been known to lie. So I had to deduce that the old lady was being truthful. She was a water diviner. Water divining was possible. Unexplainable, yet possible.
Gran laughingly demonstrated a few other strange skills over the years, not all of which I was able to learn – I never became a water diviner. I may talk about them soon, or I may not.
It’s good that she’s finally passed away. She’s been threatening to, with all manner of heart attacks and strokes and health issues, for years. She needed to die – and join all her sisters, and her parents and her two deceased husbands. I feel excited for her, that she’s joining them. And I also feel sad, teary, dazed and stunned. Happyzine may slow down a little over the next few weeks. I just wanted to let you know. Cause it’s time for a good old fashioned pakeha funeral – cue the heaving tables of lamingtons and sausage rolls; the philosophical old people (highly experienced in the art of saying goodbye to their friends and family) and the strange, old-fashioned, old-English, up-tight ceremony. Still, I will celebrate her and be true to the way she raised me to be eccentric, potently myself and with full faith in the unexplainable and the magic.
Today’s rating: 6/10
365 Days of Fun and Chillaxation (as I raise my gorgeous son and grow my good news website to a subscription base of 100,000 people). The Low Down on this Blog.
Check out yesterday’s blog.