dear nana.

yesterday we got together as a family and said a collective goodbye to you.  myself and the blokey saw you arrive at the crematorium in splendour, drowning in floral tributes and followed by a black limousine from which a big brother waved at me like the queen

the nice vicar-man spoke of your life, reminding us fondly of grandad, and we wallowed in the glory of your claim to fame – working for the court dressmakers who made the dresses worn by debutantes who were presented at buckingham palace, and our very own american divorcee who messed up the royal family tree, wallace simpson [who would later become the duchess of windsor].

we sang your favourite hymns and mumsy read a poem, beautifully.  i sobbed when the curtains took you away from me forever.  the blokey caressed my hand.

[big brother and baby brother, one confused, one mad]

afterwards we stood in the sunshine and admired the flowers, read the little cards.  i chose blue flowers for you because i see you as a blue person, not pink.  the florists even put some blue thistles in my tribute.  i was happy – i have a blue thistle in my garden and it makes me smile.

[the flowers i chose for you, because i love you]

later we had tea and played with dinosaurs at the house belonging to your son-in-law.  we played with cameras and fish and phones.  we read poetry aimed at children.  william told us about his new girlfriend at his new school in wales.  we learnt some welsh words and admired his school jumper. 

[big brother, wills, mumsy and adam looking at spy-camera pictures, mainly of windows – you would have laughed]

we went to visit grandad’s ashes in the cemetery next to the house of your son-in-law, where your youngest daughter used to live.  we walked there, admiring the serenity and the little plastic windmills that whirled around in the breeze.  my mummy, my three brothers, my blokey and one of my nephews, all together. 

mumsy laid the flowers that had been atop your coffin onto the site where grandad’s ashes now lie.  we stood there, me and my immediate family, with grandad and you, holding each other and discussing the little things.  blokey and william sat on a bench, probably discussing dinosaurs.

one day, soon, your ashes shall be buried with grandad.  they will take away the memorial stone and etch a lasting tribute to you onto the currently blank space. 

it would be nice to have something along the bottom, like other people have, said mumsy gesturing to other memorial stones which said things like always in our hearts

but nothing tacky, she added.

together forever, i said, grinning. 

there’s a song in there somewhere, grinned back the eldest brother. 

indeed there is.

[baby brother and eldest brother get a little wet – well done, nana!]

and then the heavens opened, and it rained like it never has before.  at least for a while.  we stood under the trees, water dripping on us, laughing and grinning, our arms wrapped around each other.  we imagined you somewhere together, sending something our way to bond us together and make the day memorable.

[whenever you took mumsy and auntie susan for a walk it rained and you had to shelter …]

back in the kitchen – of the house belonging to your son-in-law – we turned william into a punk and had the sort of conversations that don’t last forever because they belong to the world of six year olds. 

[your oldest great-grandchild – he was blessed to know you]

all too soon it was time to say goodbye, to have cuddles from cousins and brothers, an uncle, nephews and my mum.  we drove home in the dark and when the blokey switched the radio on it was in time to hear coldplay crooning, tears stream down your face when you lose something you cannot replace …, the song that now belongs to you, just as bright eyes belongs to my other nana. 

it was magic.

a perfect day.

thank you.

especially for the rain.

love, elizabeth x



  1. I find it a bit creepy that you took photos at a memorial service..but..creeped-out-i-ness aside, it sounds like a really powerful day.

  2. Why do I look so gay in the rainy picture?====ten seconds later, having looked at it again====Why on earth does it look like I’m carrying a pink umbrella? Last time I looked it was brown. And the handbag…?Lewis, blessed with a great family, including Blokey (why no pictures of him?)

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