Sunday, 29 April 2012
90th birthday: a life well lived
This is my grandmother holidaying on the island of Giglio, Italy in 1972. She was 50 then, the same age as my mum is now. At the time, my mum was only ten years old, the youngest of twelve (!) children, and so was sent to stay with an older brother and his wife for a while. It may seem a bit cruel these days, but back then families were large, resilient, and everyone just had to get on with it. And no one talked about their feelings, of course.
My grandmother became a widow at age 40, when my mum was just one year old. She never remarried. I love this photo because she looks happy and relaxed...I imagine she didn't get to indulge much with all those kids to feed and a small business to run.
Yesterday we celebrated her 90th birthday, and while she didn't remember who we were (there are 36 grandchildren, after all!), she was as lucid as ever and quite chuffed that we we'd come to visit her with cakes, wine, balloons and nice things to celebrate her incredible life.
Here are the three generations at our wedding in November 2010. I feel very blessed to have a mum I can call my best friend and a grandmother whose story, and strength, still leaves me in awe.