Tag Archives: Voluntary Aid Detachment

Here’s To Strong Women…..and Magical hummingbirds……

Here’s to strong women.   May we know them.   May we be them.  May we raise them.

My Grandmother – Agatha Bowyer Griffiths – 1885-1972

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It’s been quite a tumultuous time within my own personal sphere.    Having buried my Mother last December, – my dear Aunt Peggy moved on to be with the magical hummingbirds this month.     Her funeral last Thursday was a celebration of her remarkable life.       I have also lost two other friends……………all of which has caused much reflection.

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Our time on this precious planet is fleeting. – we must never forget this.

Having waded through all the bureaucracy which occurs at these times, I know that ‘this too shall pass……’ – and the magical hummingbirds will continue to drink from the sweet nectar of life  🙂

My Daughter – Christie Griffiths Reed  born 1975 –  Taking part in a Triathlon – Massachusetts, USA

1936994_160987251067_1030955_nI posted these two photographs of my wonderful Grandmother and her Great Granddaughter, my daughter, because they show so clearly that within a relatively short period of time…..how our world has changed.     How the lives of women have changed…..

My Grandmother, born before the two Great Wars….served in WW1 as a VAD nurse, – it is also during that war she met my grandfather,     Between the wars, she had four children, and was involved with the women’s suffrage movement in the UK.

Her daughters, my Mother and Aunt – served during WW11 both in the VAD as nurses.      One son was an army man and the other on the Russian Convoys.

I was most fortunate to have her in my life until 1972.     I was able to spend much meaningful time with her, for which I will be forever grateful.        I gave Christie her middle name after my Grandmother.

A magical hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life……………………..20-11-15 - 1 (1094)When I went through my Aunt’s papers, I was delighted to find that her passport only expired last year – which means that she renewed it when she was 86.     She also volunteered helping ‘old people’ when she was in her eighties and early nineties.     What an inspiration.

It is the influence of these women, including my daughter,  that has given me courage to move forward when times haven’t always been easy – and I know that they will be there for me until I move onto the next adventure……..

I read this somewhere, and believe it to be true.    The beauty of collaboration between older and younger generations is that we combine strength with wisdom.    20-11-15 - 1 (1129)

During the last couple of months, I have made sure to paint every day and have filled two big sketch books…..There is nothing more therapeutic 🙂

It will take a while before I get into a flow.      I plan to catch up with comments etc. over the next two weeks and then I go to The Magical Town of Crickadoon for some R & R and of course painting.

And so my friends, I will now move forward with a sense of purpose and joy.

A Bientôt

 

Tweets from the Past…….

Yesterday I became a Tweeter…..I swore I wouldn’t do it…but having signed up, I can see this could be fun:)

When I cleared my Mother’s house three years ago after she went into a nursing home, I found lots of very interesting papers, including numerous old telegrams…..the tweets of the past.   I have put all the documents and papers into large photograph albums so that when i die my children will be able to find everything very easily.     I might add it took me months to go through my Mother’s home…however, I am so glad that I did go through every drawer, etc. otherwise some real treasures could have been lost.

This first telegram is dated 1943, the year before my parents married.    They met at a chaperoned dance at the Royal Hasler Navel Hospital.     My father was a young officer in the Royal Navy and my Mother a nurse in the VAD – Voluntary Aid Detachment/Red Cross. 

My Father asks to meet my Mother at Platform one – Waterloo Station.    The train I catch from Waterloo to Hampton always leaves from Platforms one to four….the circles of life.

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The second telegram, is dated 1944 – 70 years ago – the year of D Day.    It is congratulating my parents on their marriage.    Given that my Grandparent’s house was in Wandsworth, my parents were married at St. Anne’s Church, hence the Wandsworth address.

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Tomorrow, when we commemorate the 70th anniversary of D Day…I will post a poem written to my Mother by a young patient in the Hasler Hospital….it’s beautiful, and a reminder that all those people who fought in the war were so young.

A Bientôt

When the mind leaves…….

Yesterday, I spent several hours with my 95 year old Aunt.     Up until thee years ago, she was enjoying excellent physical and mental well being….and then everything changed.

Aunt Peggy still looks physically very well for someone of 95, however what has changed is her complete memory loss.

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Two years ago, I went with her to a specialist, and after brain scans it was determined that disease had set in…..what is incredible to observe is how rapidly the memory has disappeared.

I found this quote, which so beautifully expresses what I sensed yesterday.

“Grandpa’s mind had left us, gone wild and wary.   When I walked with him I could feel how strange it was.   His thoughts swam between us, hidden under rocks, disappearing in weeds, and I was fishing for them, dangling my words like baits and lures.”   Louise Erdich 

I dangled my words like baits and lures.    I talked about when  my Aunt and my Mother were part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment VAD/Red Cross in World War II…..and how they were both present at Haslar Royal Naval Hospital, in Gosport  Portsmouth, on D Day.   I told her that the 70th anniversary of D Day is coming up.    However, my Aunt couldn’t  remember any of it and no longer understood what D Day even was…..

I am pleased that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my Aunt while her mind and memory were still alive and also to observe the full and active life she was able to enjoy for so long.

I was reminded once again of the importance of living each and every day to the full…

A Bientôt