a eulogy for my Nan

i spoke a eulogy for my grandma at her funeral, i felt i had to, owing to her influence on me, but i was faced with a conundrum: i had no idea if i could actually do it.
i perhaps thought about it too much: will i break into tears, if so, reading with my spectacles filling with tears & misting, will make the act of reading difficult & i can’t read without my specs, so i had to try to memorize something.
i had something in mind, i rehearsed it to myself & hoped that i could choke back my tears to get through it. i got through it, but i couldn’t get what i wanted to say, what i had rehearsed out, because choking back tears hindered my ability to think straight, to produce the eulogy as i’d idealized.
i managed to say something, to the effect of what is below, the eulogy, i would have ideally liked to have said, embellished as a poem, to my grandma.

(photography by me of the pine forest near my home in England, at evening: my grandma loved sunsets)

 

eulogy for my Nan

i never thought this day would come,
not even after seeing her consumed with COPD;
i knew death was always waiting round
the corner of the next day, but
she was always so present in my life, death
still felt remote, improbable at best, always next year.
she was always at home, in her nest, the kitchen
table where she smoked a fag in view of the tv
a litter of torn up envelopes, calculations scribbled
on the back whilst watching Countdown, bills
& cheque book, a dictionary, her 20 Superking’s ciggies,
a cup germinated with coffee & tea stains, powdered milk,
dried up Bic biros, foundation, toner, lipstick,
sometimes her teeth in a glass of water
– it felt so odd to walk into the house & she not there
to hear my news updates(she had never not been there in fact)
to hear whatever new plans i’d devised;
– no matter how outlandish,
no matter how unprepared i was
she encouraged me- no matter even how far apart
in distance & time it would make us, which went against
her own desire to keep me close :she always whinged
about my moving to Korea, but accepted that i had ambitions
– my nan understood life was for living moreover,
that it was yours to live, no one should live
the life of another, there should be no interruption,
only guidance & assistance, compelled by love
& belief in loved one’s -& ailment or no she stood by this,
against the preservation of her wishes
believed it to be the meaning of a life,
regardless all she lost while still a little girl
:her father who went mad, shell shocked from his
time served in the trenches of the Great War,
her 3 brothers who all died young.
she suffered all her life from these early loses
– calling out for her mom when the pain issued its pinnacle.
i stand in front of everyone, a testament to her generosity,
to her incorrigible belief that i can; without her
for an emotional & financial crutch, i never would
have amounted to what i have; she gave me choices
& what better gift than to be given options in life.

i don’t know anything about heavens, who does?
i don’t know if she’ll be waiting
or if she’ll be watching over me till
the wind takes off me my final breath
gathered to a fatal puff; but, i know
that energies can’t dwindle to 0 or minus,
especially energy of the magnitude my nan produced.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. David says:

    She’d be very proud of you.

  2. Very real and heartfelt, beautiful.

    1. cheers Steve, means a lot

  3. I am sorry for the loss of your dear nan, your eulogy is a beautiful tribute to her, may she RIP.
    Your Nan was, is and always will be a part of you. You carry her DNA within you, her essence remains. A laugh, the way you turn your head, your words, thoughts, gestures, your facial features. Part of her remains here within you and her children.
    A part of your mind, heart and soul was given to you by your nan. The vessel that was her body is gone but the essence of her being will be carried on by you and those that come after you. You are one of her gifts to the world and I am sure she is smiling in the glory of you.

    1. thank you for your kind words.

      1. robert okaji says:

        Heartfelt and honest, Daniel. Well done.

  4. A powerful and heartfelt eulogy, I applaud your filial piety! If the book gets written, you could dedicate it to her.

    1. Not a bad idea. There are books written i just need a publisher.

      1. That is the tricky part, why don’t you self publish some of your finished books and build a reputation as an author. I feel sooner or later, you’ll get noticed. You can proceed in tandem as you hold talks with your local pals over the Jeju book project I recommended, and I feel you will see your day soon.

      2. that’s not how i want to do it. i will build my reputation incrementally through discussion with other poets & through journals. i like it that way, it feels more organic. self publishing, at least in my opinion, feels a little too pushy, too assuming. at least when a publisher decides to publish me, if a publisher ever does, it will be because i worked hard & forged, honest relationships along the way. it isn’t so much the right way as the way i feel comfortable proceeding.

      3. No problem, networking is very important. There is more than one road to Rome. How many books do you have ready? Would it be possible if you picked a shorter one and released succesive snippets on your blog. That should generate discussion, and acquaint people with your prose.

      4. i don’t have any prose, only poetry, i have one complete, as in contents & all. i have a couple that need arranging & editing, but i never bothered as i don’t expect publication any time soon.
        quite a number of the poems on the blog are potentials for a pamphlet. but i am happy to just get single poems published at the moment. i am in no rush to have a pamphlet or collection published.

      5. Of course, no point rushing out pamphlets. I heard that the publish or perish cycle is causing a lot of trouble in academia.

        Also, John Adams once said:

        “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

        I feel , as you do, that your Grandmother and her generation made plenty of sacrifices so your present generation can have this peace to be educated and to study the arts and poetry. If you already have one complete book, I believe it deserves to be made public somehow and soon, and in her Honor and Memory. The Buddha said that one should not wait until one is wealthy to create merit, one should do it now. Moreover, there is an old saying that if you want to help one person. say some words. if you want to help a lot of people and future generations, a book is the only way.

        Of course this is a very personal matter for you. And I understand that unsolicited advice can be unwelcome at this juncture. But it is my two cents.

      6. your opinion is always appreciated. i thank you for it. i like the John Adams quote.

      7. Thanks, my philosophy is: The branches repay the roots with the flowers and fruits. And I think this was what John Adams meant.

      8. i think you hit the nail on the head.

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