accept sadness when it comes
Gen 77, from London. Widowed mum of two, grandmother of four.
How are you?
I am feeling fine now but I’ve recently had a knee and hip replacement and it’s been hard to move about.
I miss my late husband Mike, very much. We had a good marriage of forty two years. It's very strange living without him. But I am lucky as my dear daughter and son live close by with their respective children, who I adore.
What’s your most memorable experience?
It is very difficult to pin point my most memorable experience since there seems to be so many, but I think the most important one is my wedding day, since it changed my life completely.
The service took place in St. Bartholomew the Great, a 12th century church in Smithfield, London. It’s a very beautiful church, (it featured in Four Weddings and a Funeral). A friend recorded the service for us and for some reason he had to make himself scarce behind the alter, occasionally we would hear strange goings at the most poignant moments of the service, then a foot would appear from nowhere and an expletive followed.
In the sixties we didn’t have such big weddings as some people do now. I remember Mike’s side weren't allowed to have the same amount of guests as my side so Mike slipped a verbal invite to those who didn’t have one.
For the reception we had champagne and cucumber sandwiches, strictly no dancing! I remember my father tapping me on the elbow after only a short time of the reception starting, telling us we had to go, so in spite of friends travelling from far and wide, Mike and I had to leave the reception, leaving friends and family, some who we hadn’t seen for a long time so that the older generation could get home before dark. We were not pleased!
Our honeymoon started in our little house then the following day we travelled to Norway where we were given two single beds in our hotel that had been chained to the floor for some reason. Not the best beginning of your honeymoon! Life was a ball of fun but exhausting sometimes.
How do you see yourself?
I think I have been so lucky in my life. As I get older I feel more confident. I know my experiences, good and bad, have contributed to who I am today and hopefully I am a better person. I enjoy my role as mother and grandmother although I do worry about them and try to be there for them. I realise, I do like to be needed!
What do you like about yourself?
Not much! I’m getting old, but I try not to let that get in the way. I try to remain cheerful, and kind.
How do you best express yourself?
I dabble in painting which I find is a very good way of expressing myself. I also enjoy a good debate!
Who or what inspires you?
Ordinary people, not necessarily celebrities. Musicians, painters, people who do amazing things by helping others. I used to sing, which I found very inspiring. The vicar of St. Bartholomews was very inspiring too, he never had notes for his sermon, it all came from the heart, unfortunately he’s no longer is with us.
What do you think about life?
I often wonder what is the point of our life on earth. There must be a point, and I am sure there is, we will find out? - possibly when we die.
Unfortunately life is very unfair for a lot of people and you therefore have to try to make it fairer in however small way we can. People need to be more tolerant of each other, more compassionate and more understanding. There should never be a need for wars – peace is a very precious thing which the whole world should aim for.
What would you like to leave for the next generation?
I would like to leave it a better place than when I came into it (which was at the outbreak of WWII). My advice is never take anyone or anything for granted. Live each day as if it were your last. Appreciate nature, the goodness and joy in people and accept sadness when it comes and learn to cope with it because we can’t always be happy. Finally, that everyone may live in peace for their entire life.
Are you free?
Free from what? No, I don’t think I am free, but I don’t mind.