This is the transcript of a speech I made at my Grandmothers funeral service.
Dr Seuss once said, sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’
He also said plenty of other stuff , but, ‘one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish’ and there’s a ‘wocket in my pocket,’ don’t really seem appropriate in this setting, here today.
Nan was a woman of her times; born in the 1920’s, a time when New Zealand was still recovering from the horror of the Great War and the ravages of the following flu a few years later. New Zealand was a stoic, austere but resilient place, it cherished good old fashioned values, it valued hard work and toil. Money was tight and words were few. The words that were used were unusually short and economical. There was no need for embellishment and no money for luxury.
We have all had our moments with Eunice, Mum, Nan, Nana Hanna, we all have our own memories, some private, some shared. Some will be special, while others are more perfunctory, more matter of fact. But rather than memories today I wanted to share with you some of moments I shared with Nan and some of the qualities that Nan possessed.
When I think of Nan, I think of Eunice the sportswoman; the Golfer, the Lawn Bowler. It always seemed to me that while she was never a lydia Ko or Millie Khan,she was a battler. She was hard working, determined and dedicated. She took up bowls much later in life than one might usually do and this was and still is an inspiration to me today.
When I think of Nan, I think of Eunice the ‘Gourmet’ who lovingly cooked tripe and onions for my Grandfathers lunch for as many years as I can remember. The boiled tripe and onion smell wafting and lurking through the house like the smell of Johnny’s damp dirty rugby socks. I remember Eunice the ‘gourmet’ eating Cous Cous for the first time at my house. She was 90 and she loved it. She told me she had always wondered what Cous Cous tasted like and she really seemed to enjoy it. When I asked her what she thought of the Falafel, she shot me a look which suggested it would be another 90 years before she tried Falafel again.
There’s a cold wind that blows down the Grey River Valley toward the sea. The people in Greymouth call the wind the ‘Barber,’ – because it can cut right through you like a razor; cut you in two! Eunice also had the ability to do that with either a single glance or a short spatter of words.
Gambling…,Eunice loved a punt. She loved a flutter on the Gee Gee’s; a session on the pokies, an hour or two at the casino. Believe it or not, she was also an adventurer, one time trekking 2km up a narrow, rocky creek, boulder hopping, getting her feet wet, criss-crossing from one bush covered bank to the other just to get to a gold claim I had shares in. The sandflies were as big as helicopters and hungry as Paddy and Liam Hanrahan, but nothing was going to stop Nan from having a go on the Rocker Box and having the chance to find an ounce of two of gold, or even a nugget.
Eunice gave things a crack and to me that was an outstanding part of her character.
They say a good measure of someones life is not what they have achieved but what they have left behind. Eunice, the love of your children, grand children, and great grand children is what you have left behind and what a wonderful measure and legacy this is.
Thank you for the moments Eunice, alas there will be no more and I will miss them
As Dr Suess said, sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’