Thursday, 6 November 2008

In Remembrance

I'm finding it really hard to get going today, because yesterday was the funeral of a very special lady, Mr A's Grandma, who recently passed away only a few weeks after her 95th birthday. We travelled over to Bristol, where we gathered with family and old friends for what was a very emotional service.

So my usual topic of conversation is far from my mind. Instead I'm finding myself thinking about my elders and in particular Rose.

Grandma Rose as she was known to our children was a beautiful and gentle woman, full of kindness, consideration and spirit of fun and yesterday was a celebration of her life as well as mourning her passing.

Born in 1913, she would have reached the same age as my eldest son in 1920, almost a century ago. Sat here at my laptop in 2008, that seems such a long time ago.

I can't help wondering what life was like for a seven year old girl in those times and how it must have been to be in her shoes, witnessing all the changes that took place through the 20th Century.

After all, she spent her early years growing up through the Great War and her thirties living with the second world war and then bringing up a family through times of rationing. She also witnessed the emergence of technologies and the mass penetration of televisions, phones and cars.

With each grandchild came new developments in toys and Christmases and birthdays must have looked so different to how they once were. After the grandchildren, came the great-grandchildren, who now belong to a different age altogether, with different expectations to how things were when she was their age.

Like my own grandparents who passed away in the 90s, Grandma Rose wasn't green. Like many things back then "Green" hadn't even been invented, yet by modern standards she was as eco-friendly as they come. In the sixteen years that I knew her, she grew her own fruit and vegetables in her back garden and home-baked. She didn't have a car, wanted for very little, but had fun. Indeed she had masses and masses of fun, until a stroke sadly crippled her a few years ago.

I really wish I'd known what she thought about modern times, but I never took the opportunity to ask. It never occurred to me. Instead we would happily talk about family, her church, her friends and her love of dancing.

And as I now try to capture the spirit of old-fashioned values, I can't help feeling regretful that it's taken until now to find my feet, at a time when it all feels too late.

I feel like I've spent the last forty years partying, and running away from anything that was deemed old-fashioned. Now, I find myself turning my back on the party and grasping at the traditional, like an old comfort blanket to keep me safe, to protect our children and to keep the world from harm.

But as I try to leave the big party behind I realise I don't really want to be green. I don't want to be eco-friendly either. I just want to live lightly in a world where that's the norm, where such values aren't labelled as different. I want to be like the generations that are gradually leaving us behind.

I also want my children to follow suit and their children too. I want their actions to be our grandparents' legacy.

I want old-fashioned to be the latest trend, in a way that outshines retro.

But most of all. I want us to remember our ancestors for what they did and how they were, whether it was at war or peace.

And of course this Sunday is Remembrance Day, a day to remember all those who fought for our country through the terrible wars, a time to remember that the past wasn't all rosy.

All those people who have trod our earth and have now gone, many of whom were too young to have fathered children of their own and didn't live to see the modern days that came.

Oh dear, I apologise for these ramblings but I suppose, after all this outpour, you can probably guess I'm just an old-fashioned girl at heart. So thank you so much for listening, while I just get things off my chest.

We'll miss Grandma Rose now she's gone, but what we won't do is forget her special gifts, not things, but her smile, her kindness, her gentleness, her traditional values and her dancing.



Maisie said...

That was a lovely poat Mrs A.

You are right in that we don't neccesarrily have to be all out "eco-warriers", but just do our own bit to leave the planet as we found it.

Anonymous said...

pedant: Isn't Remembrance Day on the 11th itself. Sunday will be Remembrance Sunday - the nearest Sunday to Remembrance Day?


Hi Maisie - thanks for dropping by and thanks for your supportive comment. As you can guess I'm no eco-warrior, justing wanting to get by in a mad old world.

Hi Anon - you're right and thank you for pointing it out. I would normally go and edit, but today I don't have the heart or enthusiasm, so will leave i as it is and be glad it's backed up by your comment.

Mrs Green said...

Hey Sweetie,

Just wanted to drop by and give you some (((HUGS))). Grandma Rose sounded a beautiful person; as beautiful as her name :)

It's lovely that she passed on so much wisdom to you; even without knowing it.
Take care and take your time to process stuff.

Thinking of you,
Mrs g x

katyboo1 said...

wonderful post
brought a lump to the throat of your evil twin.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Wonderful post Mrs A. Sad to lose the generation who lived through hard times yet were prepared to work so hard themselves to "make ends meet" and had very little to waste. My own mother, now 86, is such a one and there are many stories she has to tell. I'm beginning to write them down for my children, before it is too late. And Grandma Rose will live on in your memories for many a year yet which is just as it should be.

I'm so sorry you have lost her and am sending a hug. A x

Condo Blues said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Mrs. A.

jen said...

I hope your post inspires us all to value our grandparents even more than we do now. You never realize until someone is gone how much you still wanted to know about them.

Danda said...

Only now I read this sad news.
I feel close to you and your family at this time.
I hope the memory of this person that has been wonderful and important in your life, I think, stays alive in your hearts, inspires a sober and essential lifestyle but also a joyful one!

Being ‘green’ really is not a fashionable behaviour, but a way to be that want to go back to true values, traditions, to the original spirit of human beings.
That is why I think that you are intimately green. It is not necessary wonder why or asking yourself if you could be sufficiently eco-friendly. We should all be ‘green’ because I think that this is the truest and most inner part of our being, very often dominated by demands for unnecessary material goods.

Our elderly people are intimately green. I remember thinking about my grandmother, watching the old aunt of my companion (who for example is perfectly fitting to the novelty of household composting). We should recover their sensitivity, their love for the land, pride to feel part of it.

A big hug.



Hi Mrs G - thank you so much, as you can tell, lots of hugs are needed at the moment. Mr A's mum died a few years ago too. It's always when it's too late do you realise how much you've learned. :-D x

Thank you my evil twin Katyboo. I'm going to pop over and visit your blog sometime soon, so look out for me next week. :-D x

Hi Anne - thank you so much. The older generation still have so much to teach us and is great that you can capture your mum's memories. I'm trying to do that with my mum though, but her memory is as bad as mine :-D x

Thanks Lisa - it's so lovely for you to pop by and I really appreciate your support. Hope things are well over there, I heard you've got yourselves a new president. :-D

Hi Jen - you know, it all makes me wish I found out more about my own grandparents when I lived in Wales. However, my nan was a great story teller and she was always telling us tales of her childhood, sometimes 10 times over, but at least it sunk in :-D

Thank you Danda - It is so true that when you connect to the natural environment in even a small way, you can't help feel that you're party of something bigger that needs to be cared for. When I think back to my days in my twenties and thirties, where much time was spent in shopping malls even just for entertainment, it's hard to believe that it took me so long to wonder what I was doing. In contrast I remember my mum, Mr A's mum and our grandparents never really wanting much. I used to think it was bizarre not to want to get new things, now I know it was me who was bonkers. I'm just pleased I found out in good time :-D x

I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone for all your kind words and being supportive. When I sat down yesterday to work on my next chapter, I really didn't feel motivated to write anything. I was fine until then, but suddenly I felt flat, sad and not in the mood. Your support has helped me feel much brighter and you can see I'm back to smiling, so Thank you. Does mean I've got a lot of catching up to do though, so I might not be around much next week. But in the meantime, much love to you all, I'm so glad to have met you. Karen x

Jo Beaufoix said...

That was beautiful. Rose sounds like she was a very special lady and you're right, I'm sure she has seen some amazing changes. I love your idea of just living lightly and that being the norm. That would be a brilliant.

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