Maria gives life a thousand reasons why she should smile
Always have a reason to smile
Life goes on whether your happy or not
Meet Maria – she is 96 years old. She smiles more than a joyful kid, has never had a sip of tea in her life and would live on chocolate given the choice.
Every wrinkle on her face is simply a medal for every time she defeated the curveballs life threw at her [there have been many].
She left her home country [Holland] because of the war. Married an English man when she was 28 years old [met him in Belgium] and moved to the UK without knowing a word of English [they both spoke French]. They raised five kids together.
Later on in life, she stood by her husband and her eldest son who suffered from cancer and both passed away a week in between. And just when she thought that life would stop giving her reasons to cry – she discovered that she suffers from diabetes.
She shares her childhood experiences with joy and pride and says, ‘immigrating from one country to another has just helped me grow as a person’.
Not once has she told an unhappy memory of her husband and son. When she speaks of them, she laughs, smiles and often makes jokes about their personalities [as if they are still a part of her life].
When I asked her about how she felt when she discovered she had diabetes, she laughed and gave me a short reply, ‘well it just meant that I had to eat more fruits instead of chocolate’.
What I’ve learned from Maria the past year is that no matter what happens – life just goes on. Sometimes we cannot control our destiny or the fate of those we love. When unexpected things happen you decide whether you’ll live in pain or try to create some more happy memories while you can.
Always remember that when you think you’re going through a tough time, you’re not alone. There is always someone out there feeling your pain [or maybe even more].
I usually visit Maria twice a week [sometimes three times] and what amazes me is that even though she is almost 100 years old, not once have a I seen a hair out of place on her. She will brush her hair even if she’s just going out in the garden and always wears beautiful dresses [in the winter and summer].