The footsteps echo softly down the corridors of time,
And memories gently stir like windmills of the mind,
Faces flicker silently like pictures on a screen,
And voices have a cadence heard only in a dream.
Days gone by, how dear they are –
Loved ones, long gone, seem not so far
When memory works her magic spell
And brings them back with us to dwell.
Childhood days remembered with affection deep and true,
Girlhood days, the friendships made with those we knew;
As we remember fondly the many things we’ve done
The laughter, joys and tears and, oh! the fun.
So many friendships stood the test of time
Down through the years, through every clime;
But now, the hands of time move on –
And so many of those dear ones have passed on.
But still the footsteps echo as the faces grow more dim,
And the memories grow the dearer as the sunset years begin;
And the distant sounds grow sweeter, like voices on the wind,
And we leave the past with God, and the future safe with Him.
Margaret (Meg) Ellen Burville
Born 29th April 1918, died 3rd May 2004, aged 86 years.
Ten years ago today my much-loved grandmother passed away; a day I had dreaded coming all of my years. I know I am blessed to have had Nana share my life for the first 39 years and that, up until the final year or two, she was active, vibrant and full of life. I loved, love, her so much and images of her fill the corners of my memories; school holidays spent with Nana and Pop, staying up to watch the late late night movies together, Christmases and every event filled with the most unbelievably delicious food, having her teach me to cook some of those treats in her kitchen (“waste not, want not” as she emptied the cake mix bowl), holidays away in the caravan, picnics in the bush that always involved a thermos and a tablecloth, scrabble, her laughter as we shared a funny story, the hundreds of teddy bears and soft toys, her tithing and generous giving to others less fortunate, her faith and Christian way of life, the resilience she showed despite her physical limitations and the tough times life had thrown at her, the bubble bath she ran for me on the morning of my wedding day, the wedding photos taken in Nana and Pop’s garden, the many cups of teas and walks around that magnificent garden as she told me who gave her what plants, the nurturing and abundance of never-ending love shown to all, and her beautiful soul that radiated joy and a life well-lived. My grandmother taught me so much, gave me so much, for which I am eternally grateful. I can’t believe she has been gone 10 years – it still hurts and there’s an ache like it was only a few months ago. I miss her terribly but how fantastic to have had such a special person in my life.
This beautiful poem was written by Nana sometime during the late 1990’s. The poem was published in “An Endless Place: The International Library of Poetry” in 1999. After she had passed away, my grandfather (who will be 98 this month and still going strong!) gave me this book. In the front cover of the book was a note saying “An Endless Place This book is for you Ngaire Love – Nan Page 120 (my poem).” Even ten years later, this brings me to tears. The poem is timeless, becoming more special as the years go by, the last stanza engraved on the copper plate on her grave . I have just returned from Paris where, on what would have been Nana’s 96th birthday on April 29th, I visited the beautiful church of Saint Gervais and lit a candle in memory of my beautiful grandmother. She may be physically gone but she will never be forgotten.