08 Nov Lessons from a Legend
My Gran, our Toet, would have been 88 years old today. It feels like yesterday that we sat on her couch on June afternoons, drinking Milo and watching Wimbledon, when we’d find her sitting on a deck chair outside her back door reading a book in the sun. This is the lady who would giggle uncontrollably until she snorted, unconsciously roll her thumbs around each other while engrossed in her soapies in the late afternoons, peel the skin off the apple in one long twirl, knit matching white jerseys for the entire family for Christmas and beat us all at scrabble every time we played.
Toet was the true Matriarch of our family, so independent and honest and authentic. She ran a farm as a young wife, raised three active boys, chased monkeys out of her banana trees with a catty, painted her handbags when she decided she felt like a different colour would be more suitable and kept her little butternut coloured car safe using a gorilla bar and a plastic snake. She was always the same, not changed by circumstances or the people around her. She lived a simple life, appreciative of the small pleasures. Love glowed from her face when we shared family holidays and special occasions together.
Throughout her life and even in her last few years when she grew frustrated by her forgetfulness and her reliance on others, she lived with unwavering faith. Fear and worry were totally absent from her life. She trusted for provision and stood firm on God’s promises, not worrying about tomorrow or in fear of what it may bring.
At the celebration of her life at the end of 2009, we sang one of her favourite hymns, as much as a reminder for ourselves as for her belief in the words:
“What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, o what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in Prayer!”
Seven years later, I still miss her and I still think of her so often. Her legacy lives on in every tree at Amrig and in the laughter of all the little people who now play on the lawns there. I feel privileged to be the granddaughter of such a wonderful women and to have learnt the most priceless lesson by the way she lived her life.