"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Friday, 29 February 2008

Swan Song

It's funny how life always orchestrates a splash of brightness in the midst of sorrow and sadness to make me smile, just a little.

My Nana is dying, which is hard to think or say, let alone write about. She's 96 and has enjoyed unusually good health for a lady her age; she shops the streets of Belmont, eats out at fancy joints on a weekly basis, has her hair and nails done "just so," and has cultivated more friendships than I could ever hope to achieve. I've never seen her wear pants in my life - and I've rarely seen her without lipstick. She plays the stock market and listens to Elvis. We have spirited conversations about literature and music and farming and food. She talks to my baby bump like it's an old friend.

Nana used to make an annual announcement to the family, usually around Christmas, that this celebration would be her "swan song" and she wouldn't be around to see another. We just got used to these morbid - and always untrue - proclamations and even began to expect them around the 24th of December, her birthday. I guess that's why it's hard to think of her actually being gone. I mean, I knew it was inevitable, but I didn't think it would be NOW. And not in a hospital, suffering the gravest of indignities: having people see her in a state of fragility, with her hair an awful mess.

I've been grieving, quietly for the most part, a few discreet tears here and there when no one is looking, waiting for that horrid call from my Dad or aunt or sister. It just kills me that Nana won't get to meet my baby, and that my baby won't have a "Gigi" to cuddle and spoil her/him. Selfish, I know, but it's what irks me the most at this point.

I tend to always be on the lookout for signs and symbols - I'm a sucker for counting crows to determine joys and sadness; twinkling stars and brief rainbows and rings around the moon all mean something to me. So when I woke up this morning and heard a cardinal trilling a quick song outside my window, and yesterday when I watched the fox running madly across the 4th concession and into the field beyond, I thought of Nana. Fleeting moments of gladness to mark a week of sorrow.


Susan said...

I'm sorry to hear that your Nana's condition is deteriorating, Kimber. Your blog honours her life and I know she must be proud of you, and also wishing she could stick around to meet the next generation. My thoughts are with you.

Kimber said...

Thanks Susan...that means a lot to me.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I bet she wouldn't pick "live forever" over "full life and teriffic granddaughter" anyday. You're right, it's a bad situation, but afterward there should be meaningful, joyous memories and a sense of legacy and continuance.

I'm glad that the "good things" are visible through the gloom, because the good things are what give the "awful things" a meaning.

My condolences.

Kimber said...

Thanks Muffy. I don't think anyone really wants to live forever. It's just hard letting go of living, cause it's all we know how to do.

tanzi said...

I know the cardinal was sent for you.
I've also been thinking about how much you must be wishing she could meet your baby. I'll bet she's prepping that wee soul now to arrive in good health and never go downtown on King Street alone.
Big hugs to ya, Sis. You were one of the best to her, and we all know that.

Anonymous said...

kim this is a beautiful homage to a grande dame....