Every so often, there’s a person in life that has the sort of attitude that makes you look at your own life and think, why can’t I be more like them. My great Grandmother was one of those people. She was of a different time. There was resilience, humour and defiance about that woman that modern times simply cannot produce anymore. She was utterly terrifying, shameless and I nicknamed her Great Grandmother Smack when I was younger because she always threatened to do so if we didn’t listen to our mother. She never did of course, but the name kind of stuck. It’s funny since my cousins used to call her Great Grandmother Chocolate, as she’d always give them a Ferrero Rocher or something equally fabulous when they visited.
My great grandmother did a lot for my mother. She was an advocate of being educated, good manners and of always looking presentable-this included always wearing a watch and earrings- at least- as a lady should never be seen without! She was also a woman who appreciated a good time, who appreciated beauty and glamour and speaking her mind. She was a role model for people that needed strong women in their lives and underneath the veneer of glamour, she was a woman who loved a lot.
Over 90 years old, she continued to live alone in her own flat, cook her own dinner and would never be seen without eyeliner. She puts my days of lazing in bed, unshowered and far from being presentable, to shame. Back in the day, she was a beauty, wore the latest fashions, including a real fur coat on the tropical island of Mauritius, and led a life of glamour. In old age, she still liked her bling and glitter and would not be caught dead in beige- unless it was sparkly of course.
My great grandmother was proof that in the face of misery and hard times, you don’t have to crumble and fall. She would put on her eyeliner, add some glitter and face it with good humour and stubbornness and the determination to have a good time. The world may have just said goodbye to her, but I will try and carry a little piece of her with me wherever I go. Even if it is wearing a pair of earrings or watch every day- because of course- a lady should never be seen without.