MY GRAN DIED AT THE WEEKEND. She had been battling terminal cancer for over a year and was living life in such a medication-blurry daze she barely knew what was what or where or whether she was coming or going. Not that "coming or going" was an issue any more; from my understanding she was almost totally bedridden for the last months of her life.
I sent some letters and got one extremely shaky reply, which was touching. To see my Gran, who had been a secretary all her working life and wrote immaculately, fading before me on paper as it were, in tiny, shaky writing, just about said it all.
In the end, letters had to be read aloud as and when she was conscious enough to take bits in. Not fully realizing this there was one particular missive in which I really did prattle away, yakking on about the intricacies of the Japanese writing system (because very gradually I am learning Japanese) and illustrating my descriptions with characters from the Chinese. My poor Uncle, who'd had to battle through all this, (I heard months later) had said they were fascinating...
She left me some poetry books. Here in tribute, by William Wordsworth, was one we both liked:
I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
AGNUS DEI sung to BARBER'S ADAGIO by the CHOIR OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
THIS is the musical tribute I wanted my Gran to have. It's the best version of this classic tune ("music from Platoon") that I know:
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