In this great Year of the Woman 2018 it seems only fitting that one of our great women passed away on the 26th March aged 102 years old. The ultimate resilient woman and cue the phrase ‘they don’t make them like that anymore’. Strong, sassy and unshakeable. A great grandmother simply known as Nan-Nan.
She was born on 7th May 1915, the same day that the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland. On a day when so many people lost their lives, Nan won hers.
As part of her own 'Girl Tribe', Nan had 7 sisters to share that female solidarity with (not forgetting her two brothers).
Her independent streak and ability to carve her way into the Hall of the Year of the Woman started at a young age. Once she ran off and went to go and live with the Gypsies. It was short lived (about an afternoon) but nevertheless she was strong minded. This probably helped with the 102 ripe years, she was ‘fierce’ and yes in a Tyra Banks way.
Not surprisingly she fell in love with a soldier, Mr Nan of the Rifle Brigade. With Nan as the original ‘strong woman’ her husband was the original ‘New aged Man’ a few decades early. I listened to many stories about her treasured husband changing nappies and going off for walks with the children. Little did she know that this ‘love story’ would be cut short. WW2 took so many lives and her soul mate died on 20th May 1942. Nan was left a widower, a Mother of two young children, but with a gritty determination to survive. And survive she did
The ultimate ‘Single Lady’, she never remarried. She worked hard all her life and rolled her sleeves up and mucked in. She paved her own way. She budgeted. She was motivated by the need to provide for her children and driven to move mountains, when nobody else had managed to. This single-minded lady not only forged a great career for herself but raised her family and, in turn, her grandchildren.
A woman after my own heart. It seems only fitting to have her in my life through my partner Jonathan, her grandson. A career girl (when most women succumbed to a life in the kitchen). A lover of holidays (sounds familiar), a fan of Cinzano and a rather snappy dresser. A follower of fashion and style!!
It’s no wonder that with this strength of character that she was able to live independently, at home, with such care and devotion from her children until her dying day. Remarkable.
This is what books and films are made of. Who would you pick to play the part of Nan?? Surely it could be no other than Streep!
Her love and devotion for not only her children, but her grandchildren to whom she was an absolute rock, was undeniable. My Jonathan has cherished many memories, from Fish and Chips on a Friday, Beano magazines and sweets to simply having her around. A consistent. My favourite story of Nan is when she told me about taking Jonathan to ballet lessons! Now he kept that one quiet from me…
Her love then spilled out to her great grandchildren, she was so proud of all of them and showered them with love, attention and yes, you’ve guessed it, Beano magazines! Always there at Christmas, birthdays and family celebrations.
Her 90th Birthday party raised the roof, let alone what we all got up to at her 100th
The last Christmas that we hosted was in her 100th Year. We shared a common sense of a slightly naughtier sense of humour and she absolutely loved having the ‘100-year-old selfie stick’ throughout the day. Smiling from ear to ear and laughing all the way.
We have all loved and lost throughout our lives, but there is something different about losing Nan. We haven’t lost her. She has imbedded her strength of character, steadfastness and unwavering nature and passed it on to all of you. She has shown us all how to do it and do it in style.
So, in the year that marks a 100 years since women were first given the vote, it also marks a life of a remarkable woman. As my blog comes to an end, I can’t help wondering if instead of promoting a 40 plusser lifestyle, that one day it will be a 100 plusser.
We'll be saying goodbye to her tomorrow the 16th April 2018.
Stay forever golden
Lots of love