You can have nothing but still be generous

Years ago in the midst of my mental illness we were always strapped for cash. We paid our rent, then our bills, then bought groceries but had little else left. Nothing to complain about really. We had all the basics covered which is more than most.

I wanted to give my dear Nana a gift that was thoughtful, heartfelt but pretty and girly. Nan did girly better than anyone I know.

While I was in hospital I did as many art classes as possible. I discovered I was creative! Although I also discovered, like poetry, I could only be creative in moments of deep despair.

This was a canvas I made for my Nana with soft pastels which is my favourite medium to work with. It’s a tulip which were the flowers I carried on my wedding day and then some of the amazing memories that Nan gave to me.

Fork biscuits. Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren love her fork biscuits. We gifted her recipe in her Order of Service.

Pickup sticks. Nana’s pickup sticks were vintage and made from wood. My cousins and I spent many tense moments playing this ever so competitively. Same for Squatter and cards. We all started school able to count cards thanks to Nana.

My Poon. Nana and my Pop took me camping to Yeppoon when I was quite young. We lived in good old Biloela and whenever my parents talked about my upcoming trip to Yeppoon well three or two year old me heard your poon. So I’ve camped at My Poon. Nobody else has.

Washday Pudding/Old dopes. Nana was a wonderful cook. Her washday pudding was so decadent. Nana always let us help her bake. She’d tell us the ingredients and we’d put them in the bowl. I was helping her make ANZAC biscuits and we didn’t use rolled oats we used old dopes.

She took me hunting for sea shells and helped me build sandcastles. We lost shoes exploring muddy mangroves. She came on my Grade 5 camp.

I’ve never needed anything from my Nana. She gave me something more precious than money. She gave me her time and attention. In a few days it will be her 93rd birthday. Her first birthday away from us. Her offspring and our partners will remember her more fondly than ever.

The memories she gave me are precious and unforgettable. We all miss her everyday and personally I miss her more now than when she first passed away.

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