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See you later Nanna part 2

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Friday, January 13, 2012

See you later Nanna part 2

I'm not really sure if I should post this or not. I wasn't sure if I should post the See You Later Nanna post last week either and I got compliments on it, so I guess I'm just gonna go with my gut and post it. My apologies to anyone who finds this offensive or inappropriate. 

Well I can no longer say I've never been to a funeral.

Earlier this week we made the long trip north (just under 600km each way) so I could say goodbye properly to "Nanna K". I wanted to be there for mum but I didn't really want to go. I didn't want it to be real. Corey said, "babe it's real whether you go or not and if you don't go you'll always regret it." So he organised, he packed, he drove, he paid, he put up with my panicking and he put up with restless children, just to get me there.

I'm glad I went. I can't exactly say it was a pleasant experience but it wasn't all bad either.

I had to go to my first funeral sooner or later. I had to get over the awkwardness of being in the cemetery. I had to allow myself to cry in public. I had to experience the air of sadness and the helplessness of seeing people upset and not being able to comfort them. I had to experience all this, sooner or later.

In a way this was a bad one to start with because it was somebody dear to me. Moreso, she was someone very very dear to my mum and that was the hardest thing, to see my mum hurting. I wished there was something I could do to make it better for her.  All I could do was be there, with her, and cry.

When I think about it though, if I had to go to a funeral eventually, this was a good one to start with.

  • Nanna K was 94
  • she had a very long, very full life
  • she was very loved
  • she was a wonderful person
  • she was ready to go and her passing was peaceful
  • she was a Christian and we have full confidence she is now in heaven with Jesus and family who went before her
  • it was a nice, interesting, laid-back service where I learned lots about her and my family's history
  • the pastor was sweet
  • there were many people there to pay their respects

I can't even imagine how horrible it would be to farewell a child or a young person or someone killed in an accident or by foul play. I can't imagine how sad it would be to attend a funeral where barely anyone bothered turning up. I can't even imagine the pain of attending a funeral for someone who had no faith or beliefs that would lead them to hell instead of heaven. At least this funeral was a celebration of a wonderful well loved person whose spirit is now in a better place. There were no empty words trying to mask a grim reality but reminders of truths promised to those who love our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

The service itself was outside in the cemetery. It wasn't hot. It wasn't cold. It didn't smell funny nor was there many annoying noise disturbances other than the occasional plane. When it all got too much I could stare at the windmills on graves in the distance. The gentle breeze made them spin and it was a nice touch.
I didn't exactly enjoy it but I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. I cried more tears than I ever thought was possible but there were also times of laughter and times to smile. Some stories shared about nanna were very funny. Some stories about her and her late husband were so lovely. Two of her children told us about nanna's early years, some of her grandchildren shared stories of the fun cheesel-and-choccie-biscuit-bearing nanna that I know and love, and some of her great grandchildren read scriptures relating to heaven.

I was so honoured that my sister Amanda read out the post I wrote on my blog. When I wrote see you later Nanna I never intended it would be used at the funeral and I never realised anyone other than my normal readership would even know about it but somehow they did. Mum's cousins had asked mum a few days earlier if I would share it with everyone. I knew I wouldn't have the strength to read it out loud so I wouldn't try. I was a whimpering mess for most of it without adding the stress of public speaking. Amanda read it for me though and she read it very well. We had compliments both on the words and their delivery and it was nice to work together.    

Some of Nanna's great grandchildren sung a song accompanied by my sister and my dad and it was lovely. The girls (primary school age) chose a simple song that they had recently performed for nanna, "God is good, all the time" by Don Moen.
Chorus: 
God is good all the time 
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine 
God is good all the time 
Through the darkest night, His light will shine 
God is good, God is good all the time 
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/d/don_moen/god_is_good_all_the_time.html ]
If you're walking through the valley 
And there are shadows all around 
Do not fear, He will guide you 
He will keep you safe and sound 
'Cause He's promised to never leave you 
Nor forsake you and His Word is true 

Chorus 

We were sinners - so unworthy 
Still for us He chose to die 
Filled us with His Holy Spirit 
Now we can stand and testify 
That His love is everlasting 
And His mercies - they will never end 

Chorus

Lord I may not understand
All the plans He left for me
My life is in your hands
And through the eyes of Him I can clearly see

Chorus
They did such a beautiful job. We all clapped. It gave us a few minutes to smile. I was in awe of their strength. They are such beautiful girls, in appearance and in heart. These girls visited nanna regularly, often, even when she forgot who they were and wasn't much fun to be around. They brought joy to her end days. They cried their little hearts out when they heard she was gone and they sobbed at the funeral. They set everybody off crying. That's not a bad thing. It's good to let it out. Yet they steadied themselves to sing so beautifully, and shared that special song with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. They were amazing.    

After the service, the burial, laying flowers on her coffin and trying to comfort each other we took time to compose ourselves before meeting for a BBQ dinner. It was a wake but it was also a chance to catch up with family. We don't see them very often because we live close to 600km away. The beautiful girls from the funeral took my daughter onto their massive trampoline and had so much fun. Is it wrong to have fun at a wake? I don't think so. We celebrated nanna's life by having fun with family. She would have liked it.

As I was watching the girls playing so well together I wondered to myself how much they would change by the time we next went to visit nanna.

Then it hit me.

We won't be going back to visit nanna anymore. I hope we can still keep in touch with the others, even if we are just distant cousins.

I know nanna is gone but it still hasn't really sunk in. I keep remembering over and over again. Yet I keep forgetting too. It's going to take some time.


    

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6 Comments:

At January 13, 2012 at 4:23 PM , Blogger Kristy said...

You just bought tears to my eyes! It's a beautiful post and I don't think you should be worried about posting it.

Your Nanna K would be so proud of you babe. xx

 
At January 13, 2012 at 8:57 PM , Blogger robyn said...

It will be okay- you will get to see her in heaven! Beautiful post lovey xxx

 
At January 16, 2012 at 7:33 AM , Blogger Rhianna said...

Oh Karlee xxxxx. Sending the biggest love filled fairy wishes and butterfly kisses to you. This was a beautiful post and a lovely way to move through the grieving process. I think that you are blessed to only be going to your first funeral now. I don't want to stop and count how many I have been to but it is more than one hand worth.

 
At January 16, 2012 at 2:36 PM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

FWBK to you too mate

 
At January 16, 2012 at 2:37 PM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

thanks mate. I'm touched you took the time to comment!

 
At January 16, 2012 at 2:38 PM , Blogger The Mother Experiment said...

Thanks :) xx

 

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