The first time I came across this poem by WH Aulden in the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, I was left in awe at the brutality of loss and the feelings and motions one experiences on losing a loved one. In 2012 on New Years morning my Dad passed away leaving my heart-broken and changing the way I see in the New Year every single year.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good
W.H. Auden “
But on the morning of the 16th October 2017 ,my life changed forever and another piece of my heart broke.My amazing Gran left us to continue her journey to her maker.
On getting the call from mum I felt I could not breathe and a part of me was gone forever.Gran spent the last 28 days of her life in hospital and each day it broke me more when I saw her.From going in for chest pains to discovering a bleeding ulcer and then suffering several strokes we saw our beloved Gran spiral downward on a daily basis.For 28 days my life felt like groundhog day with work, hospital , home , hospital dreading every time my phone rang , barely sleeping , running on coffee with no appetite.It at times like this you come to know the true meaning of having family and friends who care.Our support networks rallied around us praying for us , cooking for us and making sure that during visiting hours Gran was always surrounded by her loved ones.
My gran shared a very special bond with my brother and I as we were her only grandchildren.She was not only my Ma but Ma to so many people.Every person who came into contact with my Gran loved her. She was not your typical Indian Granny but instead a Granny that watched Rugby , enjoyed travelling and marmalade jam on toast was her breakfast of choice.
As a child my brother and I were totally spoiled by my grandparents and there was nothing we desired that we never got. Yes I was a spoilt brat and I did get my own way a lot of the time but more out of love. Returning home from school each day , the first person we would call for was Ma asking her what she had cooked.Knowing fully well that a tasty favourite treat would have been prepared especially for us.
Ma was the most amazing cook and I am so grateful I managed to learn some recipes from her and not forgetting she would always cook especially for us.No family function would be complete without gran going there two weeks in advance and running the kitchen like a true head chef.Like most Indian homes I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Gran learning how to cook though I wish I had spent more and documented more.Besides cooking Ma loved watching the BBC food shows and most days that was her channel of choice.
Lessons my Gran taught me :
1. Family is important.
2.Know your roots and where your come from.
3.Be open to trying new things.
4.Learn something new everyday.
5. Cooking is a skill for life.
6.Live in the now.
7.Enjoy every moment of life making memories.
8.Cut your hair ,it will grow back.
9.Culture ,traditional and religion are the things that keep you grounded.
10. Give love , be love.
11. Leave a legacy.
12. Think beyond your own needs.
13.Do not become attached to the material world.
14.Pray every day.
15.Travel and see the world.
16. Save ! Save ! Save !
17. Make memories every day.
18.Take pictures all the time.
19.Live in the now as tomorow is not promised.
20.Do not take your grandparents and parents for granted they will not be around forever.
21.Be kinder to those you love.
22. The little things we do make the biggest difference.
23.Tomorow is not promised.
I could write a million more but my mind has gone blank.These are lessons we all should try to put into place into our everyday life.
My gran lived a wonderful life surrounded by her love ones and loved travelling.I recall travelling as a family from the time I was 5 and that included my grandparents with us. Gran made her first international trip when I was 15 to India and the Far East , she was gone for almost two months and everyone in the group of 20 were family. When I first moved to London , it was Ma who came to visit me and explored London with me. From the bustling Oxford Street to Green Street and the coffee shops of London Ma loved it all. She was very impressed with the supermarkets and the wide variety of ingredients readily available especially her favourite Duck.Even with restricted mobility and the use of a wheelchair Gran throughly enjoyed my brother’s destination wedding in Mauritius in 2015. There was very lil that got this old lady down.
There is a void in my life as I miss Ma so much , I feel lost without her but I know she is looking after us from above and is not suffering anymore.They say time is a healer and things will get better for now the all this makes no sense in time maybe but not yet.
“Grandmothers make the world a little bit softer , kinder , fun and pretty.”
Losing a loved one regardless of how old one is , is very devastating. My world seems dull as if the lights have dimmed. But I am grateful that I got to spend so many wonderful memories and so much of my life with my grandmother. A pillar of who always held my hands and heart. Little did I know that this image I captured would be the last time you held my hand and I will never forget how you refused to let go of my hand.
I love now , I loved you then and I will always love you. I know that I will go through life with you still holding my hand.They say ” a heart that is loved is never forgotten” and there is no way I can even forget you for just one moment in time.
Ma you are loved more than you ever know …..Thank you for everything you have taught me about life,cooking and the importance of family always….
I hope this explains why I have not been around much and I do hope you understand.
Be Inspired !