In Loving Memory

8 Jul

My Great Grandmother is a woman who has seen it all; the passing of war time and peace time, the loss of life taken unexpectedly and the joy of new life, all while observing the changing of the seasons from glorious summer through red and orange fall to the freezing of the water and the falling of the snow flakes, for the past 100 years.


Doris Bradshaw, 1913 – 2013.

My Great Grandmother has the spirit of a true Midlands working girl; the sharp tongue that you never want to get on the wrong side of and the quick wit that has quietened the brashest of men. Age has diminished her in stature but not in voice and even at the age of 100 her big personality still sparkles through the tiny little body that once stood so tall. Her body might be lessening but her mind still stays fiery and defies the onslaught of time as it takes her friends, one by one.

Born in 1913, she has survived two World Wars, one as a baby and the second as she watched her husband go off to fight, unsure on his return. We have her ration books; a solid artefact from a period of austerity where everything was a luxury thanks to enemy ships preventing deliveries. Eggs, butter, bacon and fruit were rationed, and for years they lived in fear of bombings or news that loved ones had died.

My Great Grandmother has seen joy and heartache and everything in between in her century of life. Her youngest son was killed in a car accident on his 21st birthday, and her daughter taken by cancer just a few years ago. She has risen through like a phoenix, dedicating herself to helping others and supporting the church that she loves so much.

My Great Grandmother is as old fashioned as they come; a woman who believes that men are more important than women and the church is the pillar of the home. Every week she would make fantastic cakes for bake sales to improve the lives of the community, and yet she never used scales. She could shake a bag of flower and judge the size of an egg in her hand, and they never went wrong. She used to feed us Sunday dinners and we would all look on in jealously as my Dad got double the roast potatoes of the rest of us, while we filled up on broccoli. As a child this seemed like a major injustice. Time has taken the ability to look after people from her, but she hasn’t lost the spirit that made this possible; the ability to love and not need love in return, and to offer kindness to anyone who needs it.

My Great Grandmother died this week, just shy of her 101st birthday. She will forever be an inspiration to her family and a memory as full of life as she was.


16 Responses to “In Loving Memory”

  1. Katie July 8, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    I’m so sorry for your loss – she sounds like a great woman and a great inspiration.

  2. Go Jules Go July 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    I’m so sorry for your loss – this was such a beautiful tribute!

  3. Sam July 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Such a beautiful tribute and such a glorious life to have been lived. Sending you love across the pond. Xx

  4. twindaddy July 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I’m sorry for your loss, Tink, but it seems like she lived a full and wonderful life and will live on through you.

  5. philosophermouseofthehedge July 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    As they get older, elders do seem to shrink in height – maybe because their spirit and wisdom has grown so tall. She left you a treasure to hold forever. May we all be able to act as she did in that last line of the next to last paragraph.
    Peace and comfort to you and yours

  6. Redneckprincess July 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    What a beautiful tribute to your great grandma xoxo

  7. mrsbongle July 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    So sorry for your loss. This a such a well written tribute; she sounds like she was a fantastic woman!

  8. topa July 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Sorry for your loss! But 100 years is a great age. And she seemed like a great person from whom anybody could learn a lot.

  9. Brittany July 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Such an amazing woman! What a life she lived, and making it past 100 is such an accomplishment! I am sorry for your loss, but she lived an amazing life I see and her legacy will be remembered! Beautiful tribute to your GG.

  10. mamanne July 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    How awesome that you were able to know your GreatGrandma for as long as you did! I am sorry for your loss…she sounds like one fantastic lady.

  11. ksbeth July 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    Lovely tribute to a lovely woman and how loving that you accepted and loved her exactly as she was, even the challenging parts. I’m sorry for your loss –

  12. prenin July 8, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Your gran SO reminds me of mine! 🙂

    RIP love: 100 Years is a long journey in life.

    Love and hugs!


  13. Teresa Norman :D July 9, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    I’m sorry about your great grandma…she looked to have enjoyed life to its fullest! May God grant you comfort at this time. Please take care…<3

  14. Sandra Bell Kirchman July 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Your Great-Grandmother sounds like an amazing woman, Belle, the kind of person who helped build her century, as you and other young ones are helping to build this one. After seeing her belly laugh and great enjoyment of her birthday, I would venture a guess that she was at peace with herself and ready to go. People who love themselves find it easy to love others. I would say you follow in your Great-Grandmother’s footsteps.

    • tinkerbelle86 July 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

      Thanks Sandra, that is so kind. And thank you to everyone else who left their well wishes. Its sad but OK, she lived a great life 🙂

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