Myrtle Emily [Grigg] Deamer

Zina's memorial


[Life in Vanuatu]

My Nanna (A copy of Zina's entry on her Blog spot)

The last week has been one of the most stressful and emotional weeks of my life.

Last Saturday 7th October, I finished work and checked my emails with Kerstin. I got an email from my Dad announcing that my little nanna passed away, aged 84. So the next day I hopped on the 7am Lake Louise to Calgary bus, caught a flight to L.A., where I met my uncle Bryn and aunty Sherna and we all flew to Vanuatu via Fiji. The whole time I was battling to hold the tears in cos I didn’t want to look like one of those emotional women you always see at airports. Although occasionally I cracked.

We arrived in Vila, Vanuatu and it was a little rainy and had been for a couple of days. Most of my family were there except my brother Parviz got stuck in China. On the morning of the funeral it was still periodically raining. The service was lovely and many friends attended. Her coffin was smothered in bouquets from friends and family and Dad and uncle Bryn and Robin said a few things. During the service, the rain cleared and we all headed to the cemetery. The sky was cloudless and blue and there were birds tweeting. It was very peaceful and I think nanna would have said “Oh how lovely”. In Melanesian custom, friends and family can put soil on the coffin after it is lowered. This was the hardest part for me cos it was so real- there I was putting soil on my beautiful little nanna’s coffin. It still makes my chin quiver.

I lived with my nanna from about age 3 until 14. So for 11 years of my life my nanna was not only my grandmother, she was like my mother. Thinking back now, this was a great situation for me as grandmothers tend to spoil their grand kids, especially their only (at the time) grand-daughter.

The last time I spent time with nanna was in July. It was pretty much only Nanna, me, Nancy (house-helper) and dad at home. Nanna and I spent time unpacking my boxes from Japan, pottering about the garden, tucking her into bed and singing songs with her to send her off to sleep, listening to music and having short bursts of dancing. I likeed to have fun with nanna especially recently because she used to feel quite unhappy with her dementia. So being fun and frivolous with her helped to keep her happy. I remember one evening nanna woke up a couple of times and tucked me into my bed about 3 times and I occasionally caught nanna with her finger in the Tamarind chutney jar, thinking it was jam- boy did she get a nasty surprise. Hee hee.

I learnt lots of things from nanna like independence and old school manners. I have a lot of nanna-isms like signing off my emails with “Cheerio” (nanna said cheerio or toodle-loo or see-you-anon for goodbye). I’m 26 years old but, I think I have a big dose of nanna-ness and I like it!!

Memories of my nanna include: toast with ginger jam and tea, reading New Idea magazine, especially the ones with Princess Diana on the cover.

Nanna, if there is internet access where ever you are and you read my blog, I want you to know that I am so thankful to you for everything I have- mentally, spiritually and physically.

I love you soooooo much nanna-pie!

Zinashirin Deamer, Oct 2006

Click on thumbnails to see larger images
Zina Sprinkles dirt on "Nanns-pie's" coffing