Living with my 93 year old Dutch Granny was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. She used to say: “Ik ben jong en ik will wat,” which means: “I’m young and I want something.” She was full of mischief and loved chasing my brothers and I around the house with her stick…after we put rubber bugs on her neck! She tried our new go-cart, and let me push her on the tire swing when we went traveling in Norway.
She also had her dark days and difficult nights. She was living with breast cancer and received regular injections at home.
She had lived through two world wars in Holland and used to dream that Hitler was coming to steal her jewelry box. Sometimes she’d cry in the night, but in the light of the morning she’d say laughing: “I threw him over the balcony!”
Her amazing spirit was a gift to me as a child and gave me a great love for the elderly. I hope many other children will have such a great opportunity to appreciate and care for their older relatives as they become more vulnerable. After all, the measure of our humanity is in how we treat the weak and suffering.
I believe love is the answer to sweeten the humbling frailty of old age, because together we are so much stronger. My Granny, always young at heart, made it to 99.
With that in mind, go call your Granny and tell her how much you love her! Don’t wait for it to be too late.