Ellen Mary Midson was born in Young on 30/10/1917.
Over the course of her rich life, Ellen became the matriarch of a family so diverse and so far extended, that when she left us on the 16th of March 2010, she had over 100 descendants.
At 92 years of age, she was ready to leave this life, and was finally able to join the husband she had loved and lived without for almost 22 years. She was also able to be mother and mother-in-law once again to her daughter and her son-in-law, who had gone before her, six years and one year earlier respectively.
Amongst so many family, she was my Nanny, and was one of the most important people in my life, whose influence and love was pivotal in making me who I am today. The grief I feel having lost her is indescribable.
Today marks 2 years since my life had her physical presence in it. And while I have experienced amazing things in that time, I would give them all away in a fraction of a heart beat just to have her for five minutes. No, I lie. I wouldn’t need a five minutes. I just want her long enough to hug her, stroke her hair, and tell her that I love her. And maybe clean her finger nails for her.
Nanny telling me the same story used to drive me crazy; and now, I would give my right hand to hear her tell me something that I have already heard a million times.
I get moments when I get wafts of that smell which has no true definition: only a very broad description that is understood to be “Nanny’s house.”
There are feelings that no one can ever escape. And that feeling is physical, it hurts. It feels like a knife sitting in your heart, and twisting with every word, every thought, every wish.
Even for someone as non-religious as I, you find yourself making bargains with a God that you are not even sure exists.
I will give up everything, EVERYTHING, if you let her come back.
I will change my life, if you let her come back.
I will start going to Church, if you let her come back.
I will start living my life by the bible, If you let her come back.
And when these bargains go unfulfilled, and you’re standing in funeral home staring at the body of the woman who you idolise, and willing with all your heart that she would just wake up. You still bargain, you pledge your first born child, you pledge your happiness, you pledge anything and everything… and you mean it, too.
When you’re sitting in a church that is draped in Purple, and you’re staring at the most beautiful coffin you have ever seen and you know what is contained therein, your bargains get more ludicrous as you start to get to desperate.
Come on, God, please. Please don’t take her away from me. Please don’t break my heart. Name your price, and I will pay it.
And then, and you don’t even know how you got there, you are standing in a cemetery, not even 10 meters away from where your Dad is buried. You feel a hand on your back, and you think it might be your mum, or your partner, or your aunty – but even two years on you still don’t know. All you know is that there is a hole they are going to put your beautiful, amazing Grandmother in. They’re going to cover her in dirt and walk away and leave her alone, in the dark, without even her rosary beads there, and you start to lose it.
Take me, please. This world can’t ever be the same without her in it anyway. I don’t want to be here if she isn’t. Please God, just f***ing take me… coz I can’t do it anymore. Not without her. Never without her.
This is the bit where you feel your heart break. This is the bit where you feel Deaths cold, ruthless hand on your shoulder and you know nothing will ever be the same. Your bargaining turns to soul-consuming hatred and all you want to do is die yourself, just so you can tell God exactly what you think.
You want to stay at the cemetery, all night and all day, just so you know she isn’t left alone under a pile of dirt. You want to sit there and talk to her, and never go.
But somebody grabs your hand, and gently tugs you away. They tell you that it is all going to be OK, and you stand there, leaning in and crying for what you have had to leave behind… and all you think is:
And then they say that it will get easier one day, and all you think is:
And then they say that she knew you loved her. And you say to yourself:
“Please God… Just let me have her back…”
It is such a hard day today, Nanny.
Is it real that you’re not here?
Is it true that I wont get to see you
Any special day of the year?
I miss you so very much Nanny,
and I love you so much more.
I know you’re not in pain now, Nanny,
of that one thing, I am sure.
It’s still hard to think of you,
Is it you that dries my tears?
I know I’ll feel your hand on my shoulder
as I somehow plod through the years.
I can’t wait to see you Nanny
I wish my time would come…
but then I know what you would say
That I still have work to be Done…
Is it warm there, Nanny?
can you see your knitting well?
I bet you dont drop stitches now;
that you dont have to stop for a spell!
and how is your Crocheting going?
are you still doing fancy designs?
I know that it is gorgeous again
and always one of a kind.
Are you cooking all that you used to?
and is the water always right?
you can cook all you want now,
no stopping for the night.
Do they have your special brand
of Sago that you preferred?
Coz you dont like that “other stuff”,
I remember having heard.
And I’ll bet you never run out of jars
to preserve your cherries in;
and do you still seal them tight
in their lids made of tarnished tin?
What about your port wine jelly?
do they have it there for you?
I am so sure if they didn’t,
you would make sure they did, wouldn’t you!
And tell me, Nanny, have you met
The God that you so love?
I hope He’s taking care of you
in your castle up above.
But Nanny, still, do you know
that I think of you every day…
and my Life would still be so much better
If He hadn’t taken you away…