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Dear Grandma,

I can honestly say I had THE best grandmother one could hope for. She passed through to eternity a while ago but the life she led and the lessons I learned from her life will always guide my steps. She was firstly a Godly woman. I shared a bedroom with my beautiful grandmother when I was growing up and a memory that stayed with me is the number of times she would take time lying in her bed, her hands clutched over her chest. For the longest time I didn't think much of it, as I assumed she was napping. She wasn't... she was praying... for all of us. Her quiet time would be longer and more frequent when one of her children or grandchildren or great grandchildren were going through a difficult season of their life. It brought great comfort knowing she was sending up a prayer on my behalf. She was a giving woman. In a conservative time of social hierarchy and stigma surrounding anyone (specially women) being 'different', she would collect cash donations from family and friends in lieu of gifts for her birthdays and would collect up that money to buy cancer medication for an underprivileged person she knew. It may seem quite normal in the current days of social media and crowdfunding but it definitely was before her time when she did it.She truly was a selfless person if I ever knew one... She was an economical woman. I remember being told stories of my grandfather (who passed away soon after I was born) who would portion out 'household' money for the month to my grandma. With three growing boys to look after, the finances should not have stretched as far as they did. Like most people a few generations ahead of us, women like my grandmother managed with

very little but knew how to still make everything work. I think this has partly to do with the selfless nature that came with motherhood and having the wisdom to save and economise to make the dollars stretch. She was entirely kind. Kind to her family, kind to her friends, kind to strangers she might meet. Her innate spirit of contentment together with her giving heart, made her a force of nature. She grew up in a conservative era but the older she got, the more she mellowed and evolved. A person’s nature very rarely evolves in my opinion. The fact that hers did speaks volumes about her teachable spirit. My grandmother gave birth to three children. She lost her oldest son to cancer when he was only in his thirties ... as a mother myself, I don't think there would be anything harder than having to deal with the loss of a child. The heartbreak that would follow such a loss would have been incredible. But it didn't break her. That is incredible strength.

I remember at the age of 73 my grandma was in a car accident. She was on her way to visit her cousin who was unwell. The people that gathered around her on the street helped to get her into a taxi (note this was overseas) and she got the taxi to first take her to her cousin's house to check if she was okay. Turns out it was just a cold! Then she got the driver to bring her home. When she arrived home she told us what happened so she was taken straight to hospital. When she was assessed by the doctors we discovered that in the car crash she had completely shattered her elbow and broken her hip ... none of us could believe how she didn't just break down in tears and refuse to move given the level of pain she must have been in. That was a show of such incredible strength.

My grandmother's ancestral home that she grew up in was where we would go as kids to spend our school holidays. This was where I have memories of her teaching me to row a boat and clean the oil lamps every morning as the property was off the grid. She told us stories of how her siblings would hunt and work the land. These stories and memories will live in my heart always. My children never got to meet this incredible woman but I tell them stories about her often. I know she is proud watching on from heaven and smiling every time my own children take out their kayaks with confidence. I hope when they are older they will read this story and understand what great lineage they come from.

Know that you will always live in our hearts and be loved ....

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