14 March 2012

Mamie Nanou's burial

Today was Mamie Nanou's burial. A sunny day with a bright, blue sky on the green borders of the calm, wide Loire river. My grandfather, who turned 88 last November, managed to attend the burial. I looked straight into his eyes full of tears - something I had never seen - as I was the first one to talk during the small homage we had planned for my grandmother. The first thing I did was to say I had published a public post: I mentioned you, friends, acquaintances and more remote people, thanking you for your comments and personal messages. I broke down in tears when I said in particular that one of you privately told me you would call your own grandmother and share the short war stories I had written about. My grandmother's actions truly live on, I am humbled - and grateful to you.

An extract of a poem by Boris Vian copied into a notebook by my grandmother before her mental health started to decline was also read today, among other poems and songs my grandmother liked. However simple it may seem, the poem struck a chord with us today. Here it is, translated into English (but losing the rhymes):

Give, give, give around you
You who has received everything
Give, give, give
To those who are lost.
You who has received everything
Give, give, give
To those who are naked.

And the version in French:

Donne, donne, donne autour de toi
toi qui as tout reçu.
Donne, donne, donne
à ceux qui sont perdus.
Toi qui a tout reçu
donne, donne, donne
à ceux qui sont tout nus.

Following the footsteps of my grandparents, I plan to carry on giving, sharing in my own way - through my work, through my availability to others - without expecting anything in return. I am lucky enough today.

On a lighter note and perhaps to make you smile a little: considering the Google geek that I am, I couldn't refrain from hosting a video hangout from my phone so that my brothers, who couldn't join us today, could still be with us and follow the closing of the coffin and the tribute at the cemetery. What would one do without Google+, even on a shaky 2.5G data connection which turned out to be good enough?!