April 19th 2016
Today was tricky.
For my Nan’s funeral on Friday we are all going to write something on the back of a photo and have it put in the coffin with her. My first job was to find the photo I want to use for my message. Immediately my thoughts were to use a recent one, because it would be from a memory I remember clearly. So I had a look to see if there were any photos of us from this past Christmas. Because we had a lovely and special Christmas with us all together. There were a couple.
But she’s ill in these photos, and I didn’t want my last message to be written on a photo of her when she was ill. My Grandad said something poignant shortly after she died.
He said that “soon the memories of her as she was dying will be replaced by memories of her as she lived”. And that’s what I want my chosen photo to do. I didn’t want her to be ill in the photo. So I went searching for another one.
My Mum has a pretty comprehensive photo archive on her computer. But I could only find one photo of me and Nan together. It was at my Dad’s 40th birthday. I was eleven.
Before digital cameras there were print photographs. My mum has a complete collection of these, too. I spent some time looking through photos from my birthdays between the ages of zero and six. I found some cute photos of us.
And that’s it, really. Four photos. And that depresses me for reasons that I wouldn’t be able to explain, but hopefully you could guess.
I decided to use the top left photo of the three above for my message.
I have no idea what my message is going to be.
I’ve been thinking about it for the past few days and nothing is good enough. Nothing I can think of will express how I feel. I don’t know how I feel. I haven’t processed it yet and I’m struggling to. And I want to write the most perfect message, but I just fucking can’t.
What am I supposed to say?
I call myself a writer, this should be easy for me, right? But it’s not. I can’t even think of what to put on a fucking birthday card, how am I supposed to do this? It’s not that I don’t want to do it, because I do. I think it’s a lovely idea, and hopefully as well as being a wonderful tribute to my Nan, it will help some of us deal with what we’re all going through. I just want to get it right. And I know that whatever I write won’t be good enough, or special enough. I’ve tried thinking of poems, or stories, or memories, but it all seems superficial.
I don’t know what to do.
I’m not a profound, special, or even that great a writer. I call myself a story teller, rather than a writer. How can I tell this story in 50 words or less? How am I supposed to fit everything I want to say about such a wonderful lady onto the back of a 6×4 glossy bit of paper?
She meant a great deal to me and I will miss her very much.
Until tomorrow, I don’t know what else to say.