Vale Nana

My Nana died the weekend before last.

My Nana had a heart attack 20 years ago, and serious cancer 10 years later. She survived both.
3 years ago she developed dementia and went to live in a nursing home.

She died as she had lived, with great spirit and style and I am going to put up a piece from her Eulogy that my Auntie Hammie wrote for her and read at the service last week. My Auntie is also a cancer survivor and when I saw her last looked just as glamorous and beautifully turned out as I had always known her.

"Mum was fiercely proud of her Scottish heritage, was spirited and enjoyed her friends. She loved to laugh and to sing.

Prior to marrying, Mum was a dressmaker and later on her girls were always beautifully dressed in the very latest Shirley Temple outfits – matching of course............

There were a number of parties and celebrations over the years and anything was an excuse to have a party, New Years Eve, VE Day and then VJ Day (they were rippers!) Bagpipes, dancing and a lot of singing.

"I didn't Know the Gun was Loaded," "Rootin' Tootin' Cowboy Joe" and other semi-classical numbers. She didn't need a microphone and our Uncle said she was brown sugar – sweet and unrefined.

At least once a month, Mum would take us in our very best outfits by tram to town.

She'd buy the latest Boomerang Songster (song book), the latest vinyl record, and then off to the Drapery Emporium where she'd pour over Vogue pattern books and then select dress materials .....

Whatever she bought, she told Dad it was half the real cost which saved an argument about lavish expenditure.

For the past 2 ½ years, Mum continued her "spoilt princess" role at a Special Care Hostel ....

.........she thought she was in a very nice motel and told us they asked her to make the beds for incoming guests because she was so good at it. She enjoyed craft activities and loved Morning Melodies, taking the lead in community singing, of course. ............

Last Saturday, Mum got dressed in her finery, complete with jewels, rings on all fingers which had nail polish on, plenty of rouge on her cheeks, and 2 watches on each arm because she'd lost track of time.

She joined her friends for breakfast at a communal table but didn't eat, just closed her eyes, became unconscious and died. No pain, no fuss.

I have come to accept that my Nana wasn't the maternal or even nan-ternal type. Not the person you went to with a grazed knee and she wasn't much for bedtime stories and tucking you in with a goodnight kiss. As a little girl I remember asking her to kiss my teddy goodnight and she said "where's it been?"
As a teenager, I would stay at her house with a friend and skip out to get stociously drunk at night; then wake up for some projectile vomiting in the early hours.
In the morning our explanations of "sunstroke" were taken with good grace; but she would make us extra runny eggs for breakfast. And insisted we take a large umbrella to the beach that day.

I admire her for that now. She was a pretty good version of who she was. and that is that.

So whatever you find yourself standing knee deep in; don't succumb to the victim role.
Put on your jewels, your rouge and your finery and take it on.

Vale Nana.


theue said…
i heart vale nana. she's just the kind of rogue-wearing gal i'd want on my team. (and i thought i was the only one!)
Hammie said…
Thanks Theue!
I have come to make my peace with Nana; too late of course as is always the way. Whatever we are we should be the best version of what that is. And if we cannot be what others want us to be; we can at least look fabulous while defying them.
Anonymous said…
Looks like you have inherited the make up wearing gene from your Nana, Hammie. Nana with her rouge and you with your bobby brown lippie, both of you ready to tackle anything that is thrown your way and looking great while doing it. Good on you both.
ed said…


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