Although Grandparent’s Day has been celebrated around the world for many years, in South Africa, it is still unknown to many. It was initiated in South Africa 1n 1996 by Age-In-Action to simply give grandparents in the family, the recognition that they deserve.
The purpose of this post is to therefore firstly honour my very own grandmother and let me tell you a little about her and why I am so grateful to her. I was only 2 years old when my grandfather passed away, so there isn’t much that I can say about him based on my own experience.
My grandmother on the other hand, raised me from the time I was 3 months old. She has been a mother, a father, a grandmother and so much more to me. This year, she turned 88 years old and last year, she fell and broke her hip whilst visiting us (she lives in Durban). It was a scary experience and no one wants some at this age more especially, to go through such. She had a first operation ever and we were so glad that it all went well. This is just testament to how strong this woman is.
I could spend days writing about stories that I remember, that depict her strength but of course, some things are personal and I’d like to keep it that way. What I will say, is that she did not have an easy life – yet, she was not only there for her children but also for their children and to this day she still is.
It breaks my heart that we live in two different cities as this creates limits for certain things I would like to do.
Whilst both my husband and I have our grandmothers who are still with us, my heart feels so fragile at the moment, thinking about Kayden and the fact that he doesn’t have his grandparents around. I often look at him and just imagine how proud they would have been to see him grow and witness each milestone.
As I have memories of my grandmother, there is a hole in my heart knowing that my child won’t have these.
On the other hand, I have seen so many elders being abused. Our elders are the pillars of strength in each family. They have done so much, seen so much, been through so much, yet somehow, when they become older and unable, we often take them for granted. We can do so much more than we already do and for those of us who do absolutely nothing for them – it’s time that we take a step back and give back to them.
They were there for us when we were unable, now it’s time for us to make sure that the last years of their lives are pleasant and we should strive to make it comfortable for them.
We don’t realise what we have until it is gone, then it’s too late and then we feel sorry for ourselves, thinking about what we could have done differently. For those of you who still do have elders in your life, appreciate them and let them know that you appreciate them, whilst you still have a chance and whilst they are still able to acknowledge what you’re saying to them.
Take photos, frame them and save them if they’re digital, because one day when you look back, those photos will serve as memories and if your memory is anything like mine, you will know that lots can get lost but those photos will trigger thoughts behind those images.
My mum used to take so much of photos in her time, but we sadly don’t have most of those and I wish I had more photos of her and my mother in law, to share with Kayden, but I only have a few.
Don’t just do something today and don’t worry if you can’t even get them gifts, at this age, the most precious gift you could give to your grandparents, is the gift of time. The quality time you spend with them. The phone call you make to check on them. At this age, they become lonely and this is when they need you most, be there for them. Remember all they did for you. Although charities and strangers may be grateful for your help, remember that charity begins at home. If you don’t value and appreciate your grandparents, who will?
I welcome you to comment below on what your grandparents mean to you…