My grandma died a year ago today, and in the days after her death I wrote this poem, kind of by accident. I woke up one morning with the first few lines in my head, then spent the next 2 days bent over my notebook writing the rest. I ended up reading it out at her funeral.
A few points of information; Zap was her dog who we looked after after her death, but who also sadly passed away this year. And my grandma was an actress and a lover of classical music. She’s been greatly missed as she was a huge part of my family’s lives as she lived just up the road. May she rest in peace.
It’s funny, you know, when you think of death;
The last thing you think of is your own blood and flesh;
It happens to your friends, and to the people that you know;
You never think that you’ll know the person that will go.
Yes, okay, you have nightmares that haunt you when you wake;
But you pull yourself together and you give yourself a shake;
But this time it is not a dream, it’s very real and true;
I’m pulling, shaking, pinching, waking, it’s not working – it’s no use.
She’s gone, she’s really gone I realise, but somehow it’s not right;
We’ve all been robbed, her life was stolen on that awful night;
She wasn’t even ill or sad, there was so much left in her;
We all thought we had years to go, to enjoy her love and laughter.
So all that’s left, all that we’ve got, our collective memories;
I’d like to share mine with you now, a moment, if you please.
I’ll think of her when Zap looks at me with her big, brown, silky eyes;
Her questioning and searching gaze, waiting, wondering why;
I’ll think of her when I perform to soothe my dreadful stage fright;
She taught me strength and courage through her guidance and advice.
She loved to sit and listen to me singing with piano;
My biggest fan, so proud of me, so pleased I loved it so;
I’ll think of her when I hear ClassicFM on the radio;
She’ll live on in every note and song, in every show.
She’d want me to play and sing here, but I’m sorry grandma, I can’t;
Too personal with all these people, to reveal my broken heart;
But I promise to always think of her when I play or sing, or both;
In mind and spirit she’ll be there, listening and singing also.
Everyone here will hold a dear place for her in their heart;
Everyone will express their grief in their own way and play their part;
But for me, grandma is a song: bold, triumphant and joyful;
With rich, loving chords, a dominant melody, so beautiful and remarkable.
She was a source of love and light, of wisdom and support;
A source of laughter, logic, care and of course much more;
I’m so grateful for what she’s given me already, my dear grandma;
She’s shaped me as a person so lives on in me forever.
I won’t say goodbye to her, but goodbye for now;
I’ll see her again someday, after life, in death, somehow;
She’ll be watching over us, of that I’m completely sure;
Now I have a guardian angel to protect me evermore.
Thank you all for coming and for honouring her life;
A sister, daughter, mother, grandma, friend, girlfriend and wife;
We love her all so very much, that love will never die;
In heaven now, at peace and rest, she’s watching from the sky.