Sadness, grief, loss… Life.
It’s palpable, it’s strong, it’s thick, it creates an atmosphere that can almost be reached up and touched, almost cut with a kitchen knife.
A grandma lost. 95 years and I am sure she would not want me to be sitting here in grief and loss. She has always been the absolute example of life for the living. Taking what is given and using it to the best of her ability, to live well, to give to others, to serve the greater good.
This is life.. It’s for the living. She may never have used those words but that’s the message of her life. It’s how she lived. Taking what she had, using only the necessary and using what was left to the betterment of others.
I am proud to have called her Grandma. To have known her as my most favourite person in the world. To have relied on her as an unchanging unconditionally loving and always accepting wonderful grandma I could trust and rely on.
My most early memories of my Grandma are of her showing generosity, love and care for all who came into contact. At that time in her life she was a ministers wife, in a working class inner suburb of Sydney Australia.
Alcoholics would come to the door and she would make them food to care for them. The big house they lived in always had other people in them whom she had taken in to care for. There was a big larger than life Aboriginal man, a boisterous fellow who was taken in and treated as family.
In the course of her life my Grandmother was a Sunday school teacher, a missionary, a mother to many in boys homes, a ministers wife, a volunteer for many years for various organisations. But mostly she was a mother to her six children, many grand children and great grandchildren.
In the midst of my pain I do well to remember that my Grandma, the amazing lady she was in life and will continue to be in so many hearts very much lived life. Very much she embraced the circle of life, embraced life for living and passed that to all she encountered.
So yes. I will exist for a few days, perhaps a few weeks in the midst of pain, grief, loss and an emotional rollercoaster ride. But I will hang on to the fact, grasp it for all I am worth that this is indeed life and it is indeed for the living.
I am reminded of Elton John’s Circle of Life.
And a line from a film, Shawshank Redemption I think. You can get busy dyeing or get busy living.
My Grandma would insist that I get busy living. That I grasp life, hold it and live it for all it could be. To pass on life to all I encounter. That this is life, it is for living and not for wasting.
Live it, don’t waste it with bitterness, anger and unforgiveness. No, live it with grace, passion and care.
This is Life, and it is for the living.
Vale Beryl McLaughlin, 95 years young.