A Life Worth Celebrating While Alive

At funerals, people often gather to celebrate the life of the deceased, sharing stories and expressing heartfelt sentiments. But why wait until someone is gone to let them know how much they mean to us? Personally, I don’t know if life exists after death, so if people have anything to say about me, I’d like to hear it while I’m alive. This post is dedicated to my grandmother, a remarkable woman who has shaped my life profoundly. I hope this inspires others to communicate their love and appreciation to their loved ones while they’re still here to hear it.

A Life of Sacrifice and Love

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In August this year, my grandmother will turn 93 years old. Reflecting on her life fills me with immense gratitude and admiration. My journey with her began when my mother left me in her care at just three months old. From that moment, she took on the roles of mother, father, and grandmother. Her life was far from easy, yet she faced every challenge with unwavering strength and love.

Overcoming Hardships

My grandmother, despite being unable to read or write, managed our household with remarkable efficiency. We often lacked the necessities, but she always found a way to ensure we had food on the table. I recall one Diwali when she didn’t have the ingredients to prepare traditional treats. Undeterred, she went from door to door, seeking help from neighbours. Her resilience in the face of adversity was nothing short of inspirational.

A Strict Yet Loving Guardian

While I missed out on a traditional mother-daughter relationship, my grandmother provided a unique blend of strictness and freedom. One vivid memory is the day I bought the Salt ‘n Pepper CD, which was amongst one of the very first few CD’s I bought then. When she heard the song “Let’s Talk About Sex,” she broke the CD in disapproval. Yet, she was also the cool grandmother who gave me permission to leave school early and welcomed my friends, who often marveled at her cooking and leniency.

Sharing Joys and Sorrows

Growing up, I enjoyed a level of freedom many of my peers envied. Despite this freedom, I never took it for granted. One night, we faced a terrifying ordeal when we were chased by someone wielding a bush knife. In the middle of the night, we managed to escape and found safety not too far away from home, thanks to a neighbour of my grandmother from a few years back. I was in Primary school at the time, and there were no cell phones around to call for help.

In recent years, I discovered that this person we escaped from was a serial rapist and was eventually murdered by the community. Reflecting on that night still sends chills down my spine, thinking about what could have happened to us. My grandmother’s presence and quick thinking undoubtedly saved us from potential harm.

The Strength of a Survivor; My Grandmother

My grandmother’s life was marked by hardship. In 2018, she traveled to Johannesburg to celebrate my son’s second birthday and suffered a fall that resulted in a broken hip. This was her first hospital experience aside from childbirth, and she underwent surgery, becoming dependent on a walker. Two years later, she broke her other hip and endured another surgery. Watching her navigate the public healthcare system was heartbreaking, but she persevered.


A New Chapter in Johannesburg

About three years ago, my grandmother moved in with us in Johannesburg. She no longer enjoys living in Durban, though she visits occasionally to see loved ones who she misses.

Her health has declined, with her eyesight and hearing deteriorating, and she recently experienced severe health issues that made us fear for her life. Despite these challenges, she continues to express gratitude daily for the care we provide.

The Role of My Husband

None of this would have been possible without my husband’s support and compassion. He was instrumental in inviting my grandmother to live with us, seeing her as a mother figure for all she had done for me. Without his willingness to open our home to her, she might not be here today.

His decision was driven by respect and love, and it has brought immense joy and stability to our family. I wish that his late Mom were around to witness this. I always say that he never got to dish a plate of food for his Mom whilst she was alive, but here he is doing so for my grandmother when I am not around.

Honouring Her Legacy

My grandmother’s life has been a testament to strength, love, and resilience. Throughout the years, she has done so much for each of us in her family. Those closest and dearest to her have had the wonderful opportunity to keep her in their care and it’s now a privilege to have in her our home and to care for her in her most vulnerable state. She often expresses a desire to leave this world, questioning why she is still alive when so many younger than her have passed, including her two daughters. Witnessing her struggle with these thoughts is incredibly painful.

Caring for the Elderly: A Reminder

As we care for our elderly loved ones, we must remember the sacrifices they made to bring us up. My grandmother’s love and dedication shaped my life, and it’s our duty to honour her legacy by ensuring she lives her remaining years with dignity and comfort. Our elders deserve our gratitude, respect, and care for all they have done for us.

A Tribute to Her Strength and Love

“To my grandmother, thank you for everything. Your strength, love, and resilience have been a guiding light in my life. As you near your 93rd birthday, I celebrate you and the incredible person you are. Your legacy of love and sacrifice will always be cherished. There are not enough words that could express my gratitude for all that you did and all that you are to me”

This tribute to my grandmother aims to capture her essence and the profound impact she has had on my life. Her story is one of perseverance, love, and unwavering strength, reminding us of all of the importance of caring for those who have cared for us. Let this post be a reminder to express our love and gratitude to our loved ones while they are still here to hear it and more importantly, feel it, through our actions.

Friends, family and even those of you who don’t know her, I invite you to leave a message in the comments or share a fond memory (if you know her) in the comments and I will read them to her.


I welcome you to explore my social media profiles for a glimpse into my world. Let’s have some online conversations:

Facebook Pagewww.facebook.com/peanutgallery247

TikTokwww.tiktok.com/@nicolasubben

Instagramwww.instagram.com/nicolasubben

Twitterwww.twitter.com/nicolasubben

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6 Replies to “Honouring my grandmother with Love and Gratitude whilst I still can.”

  1. What more can I say? This dynamic, amazing lady is my mum. I am Nicole‘s aunt. This great lady focused totally on her family. She put her needs aside. She cared for us with a moving dedication. If it wasn’t for my mum, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. She brought me up to stand proud in life. She worked hard, absolutely intelligent (she speaks 5 languages) and is truly persevering.

    My humble thanks to Nicole for taking care of my mum. Nicole gives my mum the love and care that she dearly deserves. We, her daughters, couldn’t have done a better job.

    1. She was all smiles when I read this to her and yet again expressed her gratitude❣️ No need for thanks, after all she has done for me, I’m humbled to have her in our lives and and in our home ❣️

  2. Hi Nicola, a beautifully written living eulogy. I have not met your grandmother in person, but I feel she is a woman of strength. You are so blessed to have so many good years with her.

    1. Indeed we are blessed with her and I’m sure this must have reminded you of your late grandmother ❣️

        1. You are also blessed as there many who don’t have fond memories nor have had the experience of having a grandmother 🌹

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