In the Jewish religion it is custom to hold an unveiling ceremony to commemorate the dead and to lay a tombstone by the grave. Following this tradition the unveiling for my sister and father was held last Sunday, just over a year after their passing. Because they died within three weeks of each other the unveiling ceremony was conducted for both of them at the same time. I was unable to attend so I wrote a speech which my mother read out at their gravesides. My sister’s name was Janine but we all called her by her nickname ‘Nini’:
‘I am sorry that I am unable to be here today. Although I am not here physically I am here in spirit, heart and soul. I have no wish today to talk about my father and sister’s pain and suffering. Instead I want to tell about the positive memories I have of both of them.
Like the video my sister filmed when she was nineteen, of her and a friend dancing to the song ‘Vogue’ by Madonna. They both had such serious looks on their faces while performing robotic dance moves that I could not stop laughing while I watched them. Nini had a black fedora perched on the side of her head while she bopped around. It must have been stuck on with super glue! I was amazed it did not fall off!
Or the time when my sister and I watched the seriously spooky ‘Twin Peaks’ on TV. We would go upstairs to watch it on the little TV set in my parents’ bedroom. We would sit together, with our arms around each other, clutching each other’s hands and squealing with fright every few minutes as we watched the scariest show on television at that time.
I remember the time when I headed deep into the African bush by myself to do some research for my MA in Anthropology. My father gave me a book by the science fiction writer, Larry Niven, to take with me. This book was called ‘Ringworld’ and it became my favourite science fiction book. I read it each night during that week I was away. In the dark night it was my company amongst the snakes and the frogs.
My dad introduced me to science fiction literature when I was very young. It broadened my mind and expanded my imagination and consciousness. I was very lucky to have been given that gift from him. The other gift that my father gave me was to show me how much men love and need their sport! It was my training for the day I met William, as I have a sports mad husband and thanks to my upbringing I understand more than most women how men need their space to pursue their beloved sports interests! William thanks you for that dad!
I want to end by quoting from a song. When Nini and I were young there was a film called ‘Fame’, which we both loved. There was a song from it that we would sing to each other:
‘I sing the body electric
I celebrate the me yet to come
I toast to my own reunion
When I become one with the sun
And I’ll look back on Venus
I’ll look back on Mars
And I’ll burn with the fire of ten million stars
And in time
And in time
We will all be stars’
My daddy and Nini are now stars in Heaven, resting in G-d’s love and light.’