Thursday, June 23, 2011
When I was growing up the highlight of my weekends was the trip to my Grans in Ballycumber. The reasons were simple, she was a loving woman who cared deeply for all of us and she had a forest out the back of her humble little house that seemed like an infinite playground to a kid. I remember every detail vividly from that time and with raw emotion coursing through me I write now to pay tribute to the woman herself, Annie Mahon.
My darling Gran left us on Tuesday of this week and took with her an illuminating presence that nothing on this earth will ever be able to replicate or replace. I loved her deeply and purely and learned from her that to be a good person one has to persevere through hard times and embrace the good ones. She touched so many lives in her 92 years on this earth and even though she is survived by seven grand kids I know so many more people who saw her as a surrogate 'Granny'. She was so generous to kids and I remember her teaching me the value of life and money, that to get something you had to give something. I would paint parts of the house, or cut trees for fire wood or clean out the sheds to make a few pence to buy a cassette tape or toy I wanted. The money reward part never really did anything for me but her approval of a job well done was worth so much more. She was a charitable person and loved to play bingo, listen to her radio and visit friends and family. Her life was simple but it had more meaning than that of any other person I know. The fountain of love and kindness that flowed from her had a trickling effect on us all, her outlook knew no ill will towards any living thing.
I find it hard to be sad because someone who influenced my life so positively only brings happy memories, I am at times overwhelmed by emotion until I think about her and the tears subside and the smiles appear. I lost my way at stages over the years but the outdoors that so influence my life now has a direct link to the maze of trails that I explored as a boy at her house. Making hide-outs, climbing boulders and pretending to be Tarzan was about as care free as you could get. Yesterday as I belted around my local trails here in the lashing rain I felt her more with me than ever. Some people call it religion or spirituality, call it what you like but there is no way I can describe the power of her love and how epic that run felt. I was on stretch of single track and going upwards when I looked to my right and saw a little ribbon of track that seemed to have been covered over in time. I busted through thorns and branches and hiked with conviction through the over growth. Every stomp powered by flash backs of her at various stages in my life, from time to my thoughts were invaded by the fact I never got to say goodbye or that she did not see my children one last time. When I reached the top the rain was in full pelt, beating the holy crap out of me, not being able to distinguish the tears from the rain on my face as I sobbed in mourning. But not with regret, that is not the way she lived and so neither will it be my way. I have dedicated that little spot on the trails just for us both and I know that she will always speak to me and influence me for the better.
Tomorrow is her funeral and I will not make it home. I want to be angry that she was not given just one more week so I could have kissed her cheek and told her to not be afraid. To have shown my children my biggest hero. But I cannot be angry, there are things in life that I cannot control and all I can do is just go from day to day with her example to lead me. With love in my heart for her is the way I will chose to honour her and in nine days time when I set off on my run, which I am dedicating to her, I will do so with an unbreakable spirit. Gran I love you and in the true fashion that you embraced all of your grand kids passions I will leave a rocking tune to see you off. I will never forget you and sweet dreams.
To keep alive a moment at a time, But still inside a whisper to a riot, To sacrifice but knowing to survive, The first to climb another state of mind, I'm on my knees, I'm waiting for a sign, Forever, whenever, I never wanna die, I never wanna die, I never wanna die, I'm on my knees, I Never wanna die, I'm Dancing on my grave, I'm Running through the fire, Forever, whenever, I Never wanna die, I Never wanna leave, I Never say goodbye, Forever, whenever, Forever, whenever.......