I Ain’t Dead Yet!

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By Hazel-Jane Kalyn

My Grandmother passed away 49 years ago, when I was just 11 years old, but not a single day has gone by without me thinking of the love, passion and wisdom she imparted to me in such a short period of time.

Jessie Hazel Bailey Broder was a highly educated and articulate woman with a passion for literature. As a child when in need of comfort she would gather me in her arms, hold me close and say “I think we need to read a little poetry, Edgar Guest is always a good choice when I need cheering up”. Reaching for a thin little brown book, with a tattered orange and cream colored cover; she would begin to read.

I ain’t dead yet! – By Edgar Guest; she always started with the title and the author.

Time was I used to worry and I’d sit around an’ sigh,
And think with every ache I got that I was goin’ to die,
I’d see disaster comin’ from a dozen different ways
An’ prophesy calamity an’ dark and dreary days.
But I’ve come to this conclusion, that it’s foolishness to fret;
I’ve had my share o’ sickness, but I
Ain’t
Dead
Yet!

As I sat in her lap and pressed my ear against her voluptuous breast, I could hear the beat of her heart and feel the warmth of her skin. Closing my tearful eyes, listening only to the sound of her beautiful voice; she would read on.

Wet springs have come to grieve me an’ I’ve grumbled at the showers,
But I can’t recall a June-time that forgot to bring the flowers.
I’ve had my business troubles, and looked failure in the face,
But the crashes I expected seemed to pass right by the place.
So I’m takin’ life more calmly, pleased with everything I get,
An’ not over-hurt by losses, ’cause I
Ain’t
Dead
Yet!

Grandma would pause between verses, gently brush the hair from my eyes, pull me close and say “you’re so cute I could squeeze the stuffin’ out of you”; she would read on.

I’ve feared a thousand failures an’ a thousand deaths I’ve died,
I’ve had this world in ruins by the gloom I’ve prophesied.
But the sun shines out this mornin’ an’ the skies above are blue,
An’ with all my griefs an’ trouble, I have somehow lived ’em through.
There may be cares before me, much like those that I have met;
Death will come some day an’ take me, but I
Ain’t
Dead
Yet!

When she was finished reading the poem we would just sit quietly. To be quite honest with you, at the time, I did not even understand the meaning of the words she read to me. I felt calm, safe, soothed, cherished, special, wanted, needed, sweet, important, but most of all I felt loved!

At the time, I did not realize the impact this memory and many, many, more would have on my life. I did not realize; the comfort I would get from reading this poem thousands and thousands of times. I did not realize; the beautiful gift my Grandmother had given me by taking the time to read poetry. I did not realize; the emotion she felt as she held me in her arms.

But…… and there always is one!

Now a Grandmother myself, I know exactly how my Grandmother felt. Looking at my beautiful Grandson’s face, hearing his cute little laugh, and when I wrap my arms around him, hold him close and say, “you’re so cute I could squeeze the stuffin’ out of you”, I realize; we live on forever in the hearts, minds and souls of those we love the most.

So…… in the mean time!

No one really knows how long they will be around to share their hard earned wisdom with the people they love. So I’m taking the time to do everything I can to keep myself healthy. Eating well, exercising daily, working on my spirituality, expanding my mind and hopefully giving back to the universe for all of the wonderful things I have been given.

And…..
There may be cares before me, much like those that I have met;
Death will come some day an’ take me, but I
Ain’t
Dead
Yet!

Hazel-Jane Kalyn, ACE Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Nutrition
Integral Training Services Inc.
Synthesising life’s critical elements… Family, Friends, Fitness and Career.
www.itsfitness.ca

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