Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Do Not Stand At My Grave and Cry; I Am Not There, I Did Not Die"

Cemeteries are peculiar places.  I’m not sure what is more heartbreaking; tombstones in a steady state of disrepair, the crumbled facades of lives no longer celebrated and commemorated, seemingly void of care.  Or maybe it’s the newly minted gravestones, a shining shrine to a newly lost loved ones, or those older final resting places, still tended to with heartbreaking devotion, a sure sign that the devastation of loss is never to be healed.  Whatever the case, the eerie blanket of eternal slumber is apparent, and weighs heavily on you as you descend towards your chosen crypt.

Yesterday marked twelve months ago since we farewelled my much loved Nanna, a warm and wonderful woman who is still dearly missed a year on.  And seeing as though I am “home” this week, I felt it appropriate to pay proper tribute in the way of a little visit to her graveside.

Harrison came along for the trip. To him the whole place was one big never before seen obstacle course playground.  I cringed as he drove his toy cars along the periphery of my Grandparents grave, but as my Mum pointed out Nan would have loved the thought of her 7th born great grandchild enjoying himself so. Pop, bless him, not nearly as placid as his wife of sixty years, was no doubt moaning about the malarkey going on above (there’s nothing quite like a matchbox car zooming about above you to ruin your eternal rest).

But as much as I wanted to mark this sombre milestone of Nan’s passing, it has made me realise her grave is only really symbolic in the fact it houses a shell. Her spirit moves with me in every step I take. I still talk to her photo, see her ever-smiling face in my mind’s eye, and often try to channel her limitless quantities of patience when dealing with my sometimes unruly toddler. 

I know she is around still; I’ve proof of it.

A month ago I went to see a psychic, who ¾ of the way through the Reading told me my Nan had been with me the entire time that I was in the room. She said she was often with me, helping me, and that she send the birds to show me this.   The very next day a flock of Rosella’s arrived unannounced in my parent’s backyard...

We’d also discussed my son’s sleeping issues, and how I had to clear away the unwanted spirit (whole other story!) from his room. So after a particularly sleepless night there I was, having a little quite chat in my mind to Nan, asking if she’d send me the courage to do this unusual act.  Because although I am quite open-minded there is no denying I am a scaredy cat. I’ve never even watched the movie Ghostbusters for that very reason, and here was I, about to morph into one of them!

Mustering courage, I look outside Harrison’s window and what do I see crouched in a 15cm darkened gap between our two backyard sheds, but a small fluffy grey bird, staring directly at me. 

I jumped, as if scalded.  Never before have I seen a bird in this industrious part of our back yard, nor EVER one of this type.  And it never took its eyes of me once.

So I sprang to action, knowing this was my sign to make the move.  Deciding any room cleanse should also encapsulate an actual spring clean, I made for the vacuum cleaner and dust buster, all the while hoping the little bird wouldn’t be scared off by all the noise coming from outside its perch. 

It did not move. Still it stared straight up at me, silently willing me on.

Feeling like an escapee from a drugged out hippie commune, I commenced chanting my mantra and performed the ceremony as per the great Google Gods had intended.

Now the kicker.  I’d been told I had to be firm with this unwanted friend, so once the room had been sufficiently “smudged”, I set about making a stern statement directed right to it.  Conscious of not becoming amusement fodder for any neighbours in the vicinity who might have been lurking in their own backyards at such a time, I mustered up enough volume and courage to say to the spirit (much like a Big Brother eviction) that it was time to go from this house.

And what do you know, at that very time the words tumbled forth from my mouth, my little fluffy friend suddenly flew past the window.  And has never been seen again.

 So I know I don’t always need a graveside to speak to Nan, or hear her voice. She can take many forms in the world, and be with me always; just as the poem below perfectly articulates.

Nan, nothing stops the ache in our heart when we realise we cant hear your words of wisdom or see that perpetually sunny smile on your face, but we can be assured your embrace and presence can still be felt eternally, from beyond.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle Autumn's rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush.
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there;
I did not die. (ANON)


Fox in the City said...

Ah, what a beautiful post. It must be a comfort to know that, even though you don't see her, you Nanna is with you always.

Kate said...

Your post has given me goosebumps, giggles (your son driving cars in the cemetary!) and a tear - so gorgeous. A wonderful reminder that they're not really gone...

Glowless @ Where's My Glow said...

Soooo beautiful that you talk to your Nanna and feel her with you, it's precious. Did you see Clairey Hewitt's post at Woogsworld earlier in the week? It was about dancing on graves and it was fantastic just like your boy driving cars on her grave :)