As Seniors Week unfolds around the state, it causes me to reflect on the seniors I have treasured in my life.
Undoubtedly, the “senior citizen” who captured my heart was my grandma, Dilys.
Dilys was born of strong Welsh stock and had a will and a way of her own, though she sought after God with every breath.
She was the epitome of a grandma – the tea-drinking, twinkly-eyed, white hair, cuddly, “no-elbows-on-the-table” sort.
From a young age, she drummed into my siblings and I that we must be well-mannered, particularly at the dinner table. We were to behave as if we were princes and princesses, and were duly honoured if we embraced the appropriate etiquette.
I have fond memories of lying on her loungeroom floor watching VHS tapes of ballroom dancing and choosing my favourite dress from amidst the swirling dancers.
As I grew older, I saw beyond her tuft of white hair and birthday money and realised that while she was soft in some ways, she was also formidable when it came to matters of morality and the life choices one makes.
In my second year of uni, I was struggling with a lot of things and found myself ringing her almost nightly just to be reassured that I was loved, listened to and prayed for. She would give me sage advice and was an anchor in a tossing sea. My love and respect for this wonderful woman of God grew and I sought to spend more time with her as I moved into my 20s.
There are many things I remember – her nightly routine of watching the SBS world news, her dedication to Prison Fellowship – years of writing letters to prisoners all over the world, her big glasses with gold rims, her lingering British accent, her delight trickling down the phone line when I’d call, her hands and voice raised in praise during church, the strong clutch of her hand to stop me paying for morning tea at Michel’s Patisserie, and her warm smile that made my heart swell with love.
Sadly and suddenly, I lost my Grandma in 2012. It was unexpected. There was no way to prepare for it. It left a gaping hole in the network of our family and we struggled to come to terms with living in a world without her.
I am saddened that my Grandma did not see me walk down the aisle. I am saddened that she will never meet my future children. But I am glad, oh, so glad that I knew her and embraced her.
If you still have grandparents in your life, grab hold while you can, and cherish them for the wonders they are.
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