2013 has been one of the toughest years of my life. Perhaps the number 13 really is unlucky? Maybe everything was meant to happen. In truth it doesn’t really matter. I found that the sadness brings your life and everything it contains into sharp contrast. The good and bad, unfortunate and glad, composed and mad. At the end of the day it is a happy memory and a healthy attitude that keep you moving forward.
Let me provide some you with some context.
Earlier this year, I lost my grandmother. She passed away very suddenly and almost completely unexpectedly. There was no time to prepare; in the end all I could do was sit by her side as the respirator was turned off and she slipped away peacefully.
She died with her family all around. I am grateful for that much at least.
In my life, she was a pilar of strength, someone who supported me with her infinite wisdom and advice. She had an attentive ear and a shoulder to cry on. She raised me to know the difference between right and wrong and how to treat everyone with respect.
I remember her teaching me how to play scrabble and poker. I remember her mutton curry (my favourite dish that was always made especially for me). I remember her giving me cooking lessons and teaching me how to get the flavours and spices just right. Even today I remember the sounds of her working in the kitchen. The sound of knives and pots on the stoves, the rich cacophony of smells and intricate preparation. I still expect to see her standing by the stove or working on a crossword puzzle, but alas she is gone but for the memories.
I was asked to deliver the eulogy at her funeral.
It was an impossible situation. I was committed before I could even say a word. As much as I wanted to say, how could I find the words that would describe how meaningful she was to me. I am no orator. I like to speak simply (and often flippantly) and write how I think (which admittedly can be overly complicated). But I didn’t have a choice, how can you refuse to honour someone who made you who you are?
So, I sat down with pen in hand. I don’t think I wrote a single word until 1AM the morning of the funeral. For the first time, in my life, I was grateful that I couldn’t sleep. I managed to finish just in time; it wasn’t long, or well worded, it had only a handful of my memories and, to me, it couldn’t be good enough. Suddenly there was a blur of time was cascading around me, when it had finally stopped it was time to deliver the eulogy. No longer left with anytime for doubt, I walked to the podium and began to speak.
Remembering all the fond times I had spent with my gran, I spoke truly and from the heart. The words kept flowing, many more than I had written down. I was recalling the games of scrabble and hours of poker. The mourners who came listened, laughed and cried. It was a good ten minutes before I stopped. Now that I look back, I know that I did everything I could. I gave my all and even though it was a sad day, I was happy because I performed the best sending that I could.
This wasn’t the classic example of a happy memory. Unfortunately, 2013 has been full of far too few of those. But it did make me happy remembering the good times with my gran, as well as the eulogy itself. I believe that my gran would have been proud of my eulogy, and that makes me happier than anything.
Perhaps I will have a better year from now on.
I will keep writing the WordPress weekly challenge from now on so stay tuned.