Saturday, June 23, 2007

Passing of a Grandfather - For a 12 year old.

Just when the memories of my grandfather are fresh in my mind. Blogger and writer Sam DeBrito presented this wonderful, heart-rending piece of memorial for her grandfather by 12-year old Pia from the remote town of Weipa in Queensland, Australia.

Hate, love and in-between

I hate funerals, everyone crying, whimpering and sobbing, Kleenex and soggy hankies flying everywhere. I can hear the Frank Sinatra My Way music sailing in as my grandfather's coffin is carried by my older cousins and relatives.

"Regrets I have a few but then again, too few to mention," I hear the deep, strong-as-a-lion voice of Sinatra belting in my ear. It is like a big annoying fly I can't get it out of my head, that won't ever go away.

I'm certainly not going to cry. I'm not that sad. There are an obese amount of people here, relatives I don't even know, you'd think my grandad was Elvis Presley or something. I'm sitting next to my mother who's literally crying her eyes out. She's looking at me sideways like I'm some extra-terrestrial. She must think my blood is made from ice and that my heart is a hard, freezing icebox, refusing to make any emotion whatsoever.

"He was a wonderful grandfather, Dad, and a mighty man all round," sobs my cousin Ben. He looks like a wreck, his eyes like gushing waterfalls, full of fresh, raw and clear water.

I've got better things to think about. It's in the middle of the day and the sun is outside, sauntering through the windows, bringing life into the dark and disturbed room. You'd never know it, there's nothing shining in here mentally. I'm too ashamed to look at anyone in case they take offence or get embarrassed.

Everyone is dressed very formally; tailored suits and dresses, good shoes, make-up. Most of the outfits consist of black, navy blue and brown - the most depressing colours in the rainbow. My grandmother is dressed up the best I have ever seen her, wearing a matching skirt and vest with horrible, 80's style, so-over-and-done-with shoulder pads. I feel like telling her to get with the times and throw them in the bin.

Everyone puts roses, daisies and tulips on my grandfather's coffin, which is made of hard oak with a nice glossy sheen, the best money can buy. Beautiful flowers, daffodils, tulips, some bright and some pastel - colours that stand out on the shiny coffin lid. They look fresh and premature like the beautiful gift of life has just burst into them.

I feel a lot of emotions: awkwardness, confusion, wonder, sadness. I start to remember. He was a wonderful man; tall, beer gut, bandy legs and a croaky voice. He liked a beer or two, or three or four. He was a great bloke to have as a grandfather; he treated me like a goddess, but with restrictions too. He taught me right from wrong, how to say a few Russian words and when a tomato was ripe enough to pick.

I'm suddenly struck by the fact he's no longer around. How will life go without him? I talked to him everyday, sometimes about my innermost thoughts and I never had to explain anything. I feel like an arrogant, too-good-for-this, too-high-class, insensitive idiot for not crying. I'm overcome with feelings of goodness and joy; the world feels like it has stopped, paused for a few moments.

A slow, long, wet drip slips from my eye and runs down my cheek. It feels like ice on my warm face. How did I let this happen?