The Footsteps Echo

Candle lit in Church of Saint Gervais, Paris in memory of Meg Burville 29th April 2014.

Candle lit in Church of Saint Gervais, Paris in memory of Meg Burville 29th April 2014.

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.



About stemgir1

Scientist, mother, survivor of childhood cancer, diagnosed in 2013 with breast cancer. Lover of life.
This entry was posted in comfort, Faith, Family, flowers, Garden, gratitude, Grief, inspiration, life, Paris, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Footsteps Echo

  1. Joyce Smith says:

    Beautiful Ngaire…just beautiful reduced me to tears. Your Nana ‘Meg’ was a beautiful lady, a caring,generous and loving soul, with a delightful sense of humour. She was industrious & creative, not only with her hands but her wonderful poetry… and loved by all.


    • stemgir1 says:

      Thank you Joyce. Yes, her sense of humour was wonderful – a bit wicked at times 🙂 It was her who taught me to say really fast “I chased a bug around the hill. I’ll have his blood, he knows I will.” Haha. To have had two amazing and special grandmothers, and for such a large part of my life, is something I never take for granted. xx


  2. Geoff Elwood says:

    Great note Niggles! I was at Pop’s on Tuesday and he said…. Today is Nana’s birthday! Was nice to be able to share it with him


  3. lmarieallen says:

    What a beautiful post. I can relate so well to having an amazing grandmother and missing her terribly:) I hope you’re doing well and that your trip was fantastic!


    • stemgir1 says:

      Thanks Lisa. I’m doing well, although very tired and achy today – think its jetlag and the effort of travel along with tamoxifen. The trip was great though. An excellent conference and then a lovely time sight-seeing with my sister in law. Tiredness is a small price to pay 🙂


  4. stemgir1 says:

    Reblogged this on Things I have learnt today and commented:

    29th April….my thoughts always turn to my grandmother. It was nice to be able to phone my Pop to chat and share Nana stories.


  5. Joyce Smith says:

    Lovely, lovely Meg she will never be forgotten. She welcomed everyone with an open heart, her joy in life was infectious. The saints in heaven have gained a treasure.


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