A Poem for Nan’s Funeral
All I know about you Nan
Is you were born Elsie Brothwood
So long ago in a different era
Where Pride & Prejudice took place
And human folly was a disgrace.
In your case, there was a secret and
Travelling to Birmingham for a new life
You met your match in our Grand-dad – Albert,
Champion games player who even
Disabled with Parkinson cheered us kids with Cribbage
And Draughts, whilst donned with apron
You cooked a wholesome dinner.
All I know is Elsie Higgins was married to Albert
For the best, the worst and the ordinary.
I looked up to you as a solid, secure woman who role-modelled
Nurturing values; keeping the hearth warm, clean
And tea-pot cosie and freshly brewed,
Someone I could turn to always.
You knew what was needed to fix childhood traumas,
Took me along to respite to Broadstairs and
Margate with Auntie Nellie,
Beer and Bingo with jovial company
Filled your Midland soul ,
With rejuvenating bonhomie.
All I know Nan, was you survived a short Death
To see your grandchildren grow up, have babes
Of their own, and you coped with separations
And reckless behaviours as best as
Any Matriarch knew how, considering,
Naturally the mistakes of your own.
But all I know is, I could make you laugh
With a bit of tomfoolery and a silly grin,
A touch of the outlandish spirit within, like
Singing ‘I’ve got a loverly bunch of coconuts’
To a cherubic hymn!
I tell my own children who are designing their way
In life now, that Great Nanny Higgins was a young girls
Hero; She struggled with all the issues and dilemmas,
Was a working mother, bringing up healthy and strong
Kids for the future of Nations.
Here in Australia we held great respect
For our grandmother; She was wise, she was good,
Even though we were aware of her faults.
Nan, all I know was you were there when
I needed you most. That is all that mattered to me
Now you have given up the ghost.
I’ve missed you,
I’ve loved you,
I thank you for your blessings
And pray that the sorrows you left behind
Are swept away with forgiveness in mind.
love Julie McNeill(nee Higgins)
Queensland, Australia April 5th, 2005
for Elsie Higgins(nee Brothwood)