Friday, April 16, 2010

Respecting your elders

Respecting your elders

Today, I wanted to write about how much I respect old people. I have a dear friend that lives across the road from me, her name is Lillie Anne Gibbons. She is the most beautiful person that I know. We named our 5 year old daughter Lily after her and both of my children call her "Nanna Lil". Its fantastic for my kids to have a grandparent figure living so close to us, as their own grandparents all live 12 to 13 hours drive away. Its something that I am sure a lot of people take for granted; She spoils them rotten every time we visit, she helps discipline them and corrects their grammar; but most importantly she is a tower of wisdom and can teach my children things that my husband and I never could.

Lillie came out on a ship from England when she was only 18, with the love of her life "Keith". Sadly I did not get to meet Keith before he past away many years ago, although I feel like I know him from all of the fond memories she often tells us about.

They spent their early married life in Melbourne; Keith was a handsome bank manager and Lillie worked in fashion part time and was a mother to two beautiful boys Paul and David. Keith never wanted Lillie to work, as he did not want Lillie's Mother to think that he could not provide for her. Lillie was bored though, so one day she took herself into one of the up market ladies fashion stores in the city and requested a job. Clearly taken by her beauty, the owner of the store jumped at the chance and said "when can you start?" Well, Lillie was taken back and said "I will have to check with my husband, but I am sure that I can start on Monday". "great!" the store owner replied "you can work 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday." "Oh no!!!" Lillie replied with a horrified look on her face "I will work 10am to 2pm, so I can drop my boys off and collect them from school." She always laughs when she tells me this story because she knows how lucky she was to get such a wonderful job and yet there she was with so much confidence telling the owner of the store when and when not she would work!

Lillie is so inspiring to me, she reminds me of Elizabeth Taylor, she is always so glamorous and makes an effort every day to look her best. Not many people, including myself even know how old Lillie is. She says "My dear Mother always told me, If someone is rude enough to ask a lady her age, they deserve to be told a lie."

Another story that is close to Lillie's heart and I really enjoy hearing, is when Keith retired and surprised her one day with a trip around the world. He took her on a first class holiday, with no expenses spared for about 6 months! He had organised to meet their children and grandchildren in Rome, where they spent a few weeks in a beautiful guest house, enjoying the sights. Still to this day, Lillie always insists on living life to the fullest and goes on a cruise every year to many overseas destinations.

Up until about 3 months ago lillie was very independent, she went out to dinner as many as 3 times a week with her friend Rob, She volunteered at John Flyn Hospital and sung in the choir every week. Sadly she had a couple of bad falls and has not quite recovered, they have really knocked her around. After a month in hospital, she returned home a few weeks ago and is still trying to be independent. She is such a proud lady and I know it is hard for her to accept help. I call or pop in every day to see how she is going and I know she always puts on a brave, happy face, even when she is not feeling so well... she is such a positive person.

Yesterday I popped over with dinner, as I have most nights this week, because I know that she hasn't been eating properly. I walked into her bedroom and said "Hi Lillie, its Jacqui, I have just brought you over some dinner." She looked up with a great big smile and then burst into tears. "Lillie what is wrong?" I said. She sobbed "How did you know that I didnt have any food? I was going to have a poached egg for egg for dinner, but I have run out of eggs." It brought tears to my eyes, because part of me felt very guilty that I had not checked what she had left in her fridge and cupboard earlier! It made me realise how important she was to me and how easily the elderly can fade away into the forgotten world amongst our often busy lives. I believe that Lillie will get better; but at the moment its time that my family slows down and pays back much of the love and attention she has always shown us to get her on the road to recovery and independence.

So please if you have someone elderly that lives close to you, ask them how they are doing, invite them into your life and try to be part of theirs, because as much as they might need your friendship and care, I believe that the younger generations need them!

Holding my daughter at one day old; she brought me in
a gorgeous bunch of flowers.

My two beautiful Lillie's with my wonderful mum Denise.

Lillie holding Lily on her 1st birthday

Lily and Lillie when she came over for dinner
Lillie sharing in My Lily's first day of school

"Your Love is a Rare and Beautiful gift"

"Grandmothers can turn simple moments
into gifts of love
Your love is a rare and beautiful gift
and you show it in so many ways ~
In the pride that you take in your family,
in your words of affection and priase,
In your laughter and warm sense of humor,
in the generous things that you do ~
Your love is a rare and beautiful gift
and there’s no one who shares it
like you."

Source: 17th april 2010


Kids Fashion Review said...

This made me cry !! I have a special Lillie too x She will miss you when you are in Bali.

Jac and kate said...

yeah i know, i havent told her yet, i am too worried about it! xx

design said...

That is so heart warming Jac, Lillie is so lucky to have such a beautiful friend like you and you are lucky to have such a beautiful friend like Lillie x