Valuing a lesson from Grandma

She was born 115 years ago today, a Saturday, in Lilydale in Tasmania to parents who had emigrated from England. When she was 17 she caught a ship with a sister, Mary, to Invercargill and made a life in New Zealand, mainly in Christchurch with some time later in Auckland.

Grandma married twice, to Victor who died of cancer in his 40s, but not before they had four boys, all now in their eighties and a daughter Ruth, who died soon after she was born.

Twenty-five or so years later she married Grandad Merrick. He was  lovely man and for me was the grandfather I remembered the most. When he died at 88, Grandma was in her late seventies. I doubt any of us appreciated what Grandma Merrick SCD_0001it meant to Grandma to have someone to love and cherish after so many years alone.  Their ten years together were undoubtedly the best in many years for both of them. I am not certain Grandma ever got over the loss of Ernie, whom she so obviously loved very much.

During their time together they traveled extensively in their Datsun 120Ys, and delighted in retelling the attention the Police gave them whilst hunting for the killer of Mona Blades, apparently last seen in a similar car. They were simply a happy couple in love, enjoying their time together.

She has a special place in my heart to this day.  In her grief for Grandad Merrick she taught me that everyone values someone special.

Stephen

 

 

Grandma’s insight

Lovely to see you come, and lovely to see you go“. So said Grandma in about 1974 after nine of us were about to depart after three weeks or so in her flat and bach. Such harsh words I thought. Surely she was sad to see us go? After all she was quite old I thought and you never know, this could be the last time (turned out she had another 16 years!).

Of course as a boy I didn’t appreciate the stress that a large group of visitors in Grandma’s flat in Sandringham and at her bach in Stanmore Bay might have caused. They were just great holidays. A long road trip from the South Island, beaches, swimming, hot days, sun burn, Waiwera hot pools and barbeques.

I had dear friends stay in the weekend (so in case they’re reading I’m not about to do a Grandma). W12657243_10206633536649957_1152946458479811167_oe cycled, dined, did some gardening and watched movies.

A colleague commented to me the other day that when you’re an extrovert it’s not always straightforward to explain to those close to you that you need downtime. Which I have found to be true.

I’m an extrovert and part of me needs recharging with time alone. More so as I’ve got older (which might be another post).

Thanks to Grandma for the wise leadership insight all those years ago.

Stephen

p.s. this is her in 1979 with my mother. I can imagine she’s smiling from being reminded about this story.