Tu-Ra-Lu-Ra-Lu-Ra is Great Grandad George
William has a bedtime ritual. Dada gives him his bath, Mama dries him, brushes his teeth and puts on his jammies, they all say their family prayer together and then dada reads him stories. When he has had enough “Book! Book!” He gets a “ba-ba” and goes to sleep. Pretty much like clock work, every night. The white noise sound machine is turned out. Lights are out. The cow jumps over the moon and other such images rotate sleepily across his ceiling. He cuddles his bunny and his blanket, rolls on his tummy and goes to sleep. Sometimes he will kick and squirm and sing and talk to himself, but eventually, he sleeps. Rarely, he fusses and cries at bedtime.
However, when mama and dada are not there, and Gramsy gives him his “ba-ba”, he has recently begun to pull away, and say, “Mama! Mama?” On these such evenings, Gramsy will hold him and rock him and sing and sing and sing. Oh, how Gramsy loves to sing. She sings “Lullabye, and goodnight, my sweet little William…” she sings the entire song, over and over and over. Then she sings, “Que sera-sera, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see, Que sera-sera.” and makes it into a “boy” version. But, her favourite song is “Tu-ra-lu-ra-lu-ra”. Her dad, William’s Great Grandfather, used to sing that Irish lullaby to her when she was just a little gal and she loved it. It was one of the few Irish cultural traditions he gifted her with.
The first time she sang it to William, he was a day old, and she continues to sing it every night she rocks him. “Tu-ra-lu-ra-lu-ra, Tu-ra-lu-ra-li, Tu-ra-lu-ra-lu-ra, it’s an Irish Lullaby; Tu-ra-lu-ra-lu-ra, Tu-ra-lu-ra-li, How Great Grandad loves you, this is his Irish Lullaby. Oh Great Grandad loves you, so much with all his heart, Yes, Great Grandad loves you, he has right from the start. Tu-ra-lu-ra-lu-ra, Tu-ra-lu-ra-li, Tu-ra-lu-ra-lu-ra, this is his Irish Lullaby.”
The words change with the mood and the message, but the words are always about Great Grandad and how much he wishes he had met William. How he would love to hold him and sing to him and rock him. How much he loves him from above.
When William looks at the pictures on Great Grandad’s shelf in the Memory Room, he points to Great Grandad as if he knows him, and Gramsy says, “Yes, that’s Tu-ra-lu-ra-lu-ra!” So, Great Grandad George, over time, has become “Tu-ra-lu-ra-lu-ra”.
The last time Gramsy was singing this to William in July 2016 while he was visiting her, she was overcome with emotion. Tears poured down her face as she felt the love of her father for her grandson, yet her voice didn’t waiver. Her body didn’t quiver. There was no sign of her sadness other than the tears on her cheeks in the darkness of that night. Yet, almost asleep, William pulled away and sat up in her arms, too dark to see her, he put his small hand on her cheek, leaned forward and put his head into her neck, wrapped his arm around her and gave her a big tight hug, patting her back soothingly.
There was a knowing; an understanding expressed by this infant child to his Gramsy that she is loved and that he understands this love and her loss as he comforted her. It was not an infant comforting his grandmother. It was his spirit and the love inside of him comforting her soul. It was an old soul reaching forward through time and space into hers.
Then he settled back in her arms and went to sleep.
Gramsy Glimpses is a project started in August 2016 to capture vignettes of hilarity or endearment as our precious Prince William makes sense of his world. Background information about the “characters”, “setting” and a list of all Gramsy Glimpses can be found here.