One of the most difficult things that any of us have to deal with in life is the death of a loved one. Nothing can quite prepare you and even though we know eventually that moment, or moments will inevitably arrive, it’s just a shame we can’t talk about it prior to the event, before it lands in our lap.
All those things that we would have liked that person we loved and subsequently lost, to know that we felt about them is so often not said, and forever regretted.
And all because we can’t bare to discuss the subject, so we push the thought of ‘the day’ out of our minds as if somehow that may prevent it ever occurring.
When my significant moment arrived, the day that I lost my grandmother I was heart broken. Although I didn’t verbalise everything she meant to me, I do know she knew how special she was.
But what came in the passing months after she passed was another enormous wave of emotion when I realised I no longer had any real connection with a woman of her age and wisdom.
What knowledge and insights would I need in my life to shape me in the way that doesn’t just come from people of my own age group? It didn’t sit well with me. It didn’t feel healthy.
A few years later while working in radio I received a beautiful book in the mail called The Thoughts Of Nanushka. Sent to me by a man I’d never met but who clearly had a very kind soul.
He explained in the letter that he had a feeling that it was a book I should have, and that I would enjoy.
Fast-forward to 2 months ago in what came as another lovely surprise, I received a second volume on The Thoughts Of Nanushka in the mail, and what was even greater joy was that it was sent by the author herself.
Her name is Nan Witcomb, who I naïvely discovered was from Adelaide.
Somehow Nan Witcomb a name known well to a generation I felt I’d lost touch with had sensed I might like to connect with her books.
Talk about the universe working in divine ways?
Nan Witcomb and I have now become firm email buddies and with every letter I receive I rejoice in the wisdom of a woman who has lead such a colourful life that I can’t begin to tell you what a hole it has filled in my own.
South Australia I think know better than most states how to really honour a true icon, so if you don’t yet know all about Nan, it’s time to get on board.
Nan, who will no doubt be a little flushed when she reads this (as I won’t warn her before), really is a national treasure and has sold over 300,000 books all over the world. One of her poems even being read at the funeral of Michael Hutchence!
For 23 years of her life, from 1950 on she was a senior air hostess at ANA which then became Ansett, and has since written a delightful book called Up Here And Down There, honouring the ‘flying girls’ who were so brave and so ahead of them time.
Ironically Nan also did her time on radio, with various stints on Adelaide airwaves including afternoons at 5DN with Ken Dicken.
I have to say I feel just so blessed to have found this new friendship for countless reasons. One being I believe without the combination of young and older Australians, we run the risk of losing the power and beauty of hindsight.
Not everything we’re doing now is better because it’s called modern.
As Nan said in one of my her notes “I don’t know how people find time to be on Face book and Twitter…..I’d much rather spend time in the garden.”
And since discovering my new friend, I’d much rather be reading one of her books.