~ Performed live at Camp Good Life Project in upstate New York, August 2016. ~
A year ago today I watched all of you perform wonderful things on this stage with such bravery, vulnerability and talent. And I promised myself that night, that I would come back this year and I would perform something too.
I had high hopes of writing an interesting, moving piece that I would rehearse until it was a melodic, flawless work of art.
But that is not what happened.
As it turns out 2016 was destined to be a tricky one. And jam packed full of lessons I didn’t really want.
My mum has been sick.
I moved countries and houses several times.
I got a new job I didn’t know I wanted, but deep down I knew I needed.
And I let go of my business.
My Nanna passed away 3 weeks ago and my Grandma died at the start of April, at 92 after a short fight with a rare cancer.
I wanted to write a poem that was profound and uplifting and effortlessly entertaining and well written.
But instead I’m here to tell you that you need to let go of how you thought things would work out.
That you need to find ease in change.
That your expectation of yourself and the reality of yourself will be different.
I need to tell that you need to stand in your shit.
And that I’ve realised that I can be both strong and not strong, and that that is ok.
That there is no one way to love, be loved or to grieve.
And, really what I want to tell you about, is my Grandma.
This strong woman shaped me.
She was Nancy Harney and she was the epitome of the resilient country woman.
She travelled the world as a solo woman in her 20s in the 1940s.
She was a supportive and generous wife for nearly 60 years.
She raised 5 children in rural Australia and co ran a farm for decades.
Grandma taught me how to be whoever I wanted to be.
She told me to be brave, to push myself outside of my comfort zone and to always keep exploring.
Grandma made everyone feel so loved because She loved deeply and (almost) unconditionally.
She was the ultimate provider.
Even if you showed up un-announced there’d be a sandwich whipped up out of what appeared to be nothing.
And family occasions were always a production of great food on the best china.
Community was everything to her.
She worked for every committee, served on every board, volunteered at every event.
Grandma has always reminded me the importance of the things the modern world is moving away from. She always wrote letters and postcards. And encouraged me to write to her, from wherever I was.
She always called.
And she always showed up.
She believed in dressing up and being there for the big things and the small things.
My favourite thing about Grandma is that she was the matriarch of our family.
She was strong. She was determined. And to be fair, a little bit stubborn.
She was elegant, generous, thoughtful, committed all the way to the end.
Spending her last short months with her, was an absolute honour and a gift.
She helped raise me and I will be forever grateful for having such an inspiring role model in my life.
So, love those around you deeply, tell them you’re grateful for them and keep up the adventure.