My beloved nanna died in England in May, aged 92. She was still living independently, and was unfortunately robbed on her doorstep by a bastard pretending to be a charity collector. During the event she was either pushed or fell somehow with the shock of having her purse snatched and ended up in hospital – all 4’11” of her – and never recovered.
Her weeks of living hell in the English NHS with an undiagnosed fractured femur, recurrent UTIs, dehydration and totally inappropriate care is another story; suffice it to say it was a tragic end to a long and extraordinary life which produced my father and a failed attempt to settle in Australia as a 10 pound Pom family in the early 60s. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to surprise her in England in 2007 for her 90th birthday and the lovely five days spent with her and my Aunty and other family members to celebrate the milestone.
So when the call came from my Aunty to advise the inevitable, which I was prepared for, it took a day or two to realise that I should send flowers. I rang the florist I’ve used before for interstate and international deliveries and was greeted by a friendly, though befuddled, woman – “now, where’s that pen?” I explained what I needed, and that I’d looked online and found what I was after. She really just needed to take the message, confirm the price, and take my payment.
After giving my credit card details, I asked her to read back the message, just to be sure, to which she replied, “Oh! My shorthand’s not the best, um okay, here we go …” To her credit, the only bit she got wrong was saying “to all of you” instead of “to you all” but I let her get away with it – because the meaning was not altered. But at about this point my fragile emotional state was at near-shatter vibrational levels.
Note to florists: your business is about emotion! When you are 10,000 miles away from someone and want to convey your feelings, ‘saying it with flowers’ does also include words but they’ve got to be right! When I hang up, you can’t join the dots between what you thought I said and what you’ll say I said! This is my Aunty Wendy you’re dealing with!
Anyway, the flowers arrived, my Aunty loved them, the funeral happened, and life (and death) goes on. Words matter. RIP Phyllis Mary Margrain.