A day of dressing up and looking smart, to say goodbye to a lady who took rather a long time to come around to the idea of females wearing trousers. A lady who had a hairdresser come to her house regularly to wash and set her hair to make sure it looked decent.
Celebrating the life she had, the life she gave all of us, her big family that she was the head of. Former boyfriends were known to liken her to the Queen Mother - gentle and well-dressed, but ruled with a strong will. For me, I used to call her Beryl the Peril, and my Grandad was Dennis the Menace; it was the source of much amusement to me as a child that these were the names of my grandparents.
My Nana would mostly likely think she was an imperfect parent, as do we all. But she was perfect at being her. She was perfect at always having chocolate on her china tray in her living room, tins of Baxter's soup and Ambrosia Custard in the larder, strawberries and gooseberries in the garden, and always ALWAYS giving us elevenses at 11 o'clock in summer, with lemonade and biscuits at the table in the garden.
She was also perfect at knowing about nearly every single flower or plant, and getting her fingernails full of mud whilst she looked after them all in her garden. And then letting us make perfume with all of the petals from the roses that she had cut back.
She could give you just one look, or say your name in a certain way, and you would know that your skirt was too short, your top too low, or that what you had just said was not to be repeated in polite company. But she would have a twinkle in her eye when she said it, and you would remember that photo that your Mum showed you.............the one with 4 ladies on the lawn in extremely short mini dresses..............your Mum, two Aunties, and your Nana. And your Nana's dress was the shortest of the lot.
She was perfect at knitting matinee jackets for all of the babies, and we still have some tucked away downstairs for memories. When her fingers didn't work very well anymore, I bought a set of knitting needles and accessories with some money that she gifted to me, and taught myself to knit. I think it will be a while before I master her intricately patterned baby jackets, but it feels good to knit blankets and know that she would be saying "told you so" as I feel myself relax whilst doing clicking away.
There will be many things about my Nana that I don't know or don't remember. I was at the younger end of her grandchildren, and only vaguely remember some of the older traditions and things she used to do. There will be many things that my children do not know about her. We have a habit, as people age, of just remembering the last 20 or so years. We have a habit, of only seeing the bit of them that they showed us, as the 'real' bit. In reality it's a bit like a jigsaw. You need all of the people that she knew, or that knew of her, with their own little piece of the puzzle, to get the real complete picture. You need to listen and believe what other people tell you of her, even if it doesn't fit what you think you know. That is the way to respect and remember a life.
Hopefully, today, we can all sit together and all remember and celebrate the whole picture of my Nana. There's one thing for sure. She loved roses, Salvation Army brass bands, and this song. We will be singing it today, this afternoon, and I hope she will be listening and seeing all of the family she created, all of the friends lives that she touched. Jessica says she will be sat with "That man, that Grandad you told me about, and of course Baby Isaac, he will always be a baby you know, but now he has a Nana with him too".