She was born in 1916, surviving two world wars. She left home in the Welsh Valleys at 16 to become a nurse in London. She has recalled many a story to me of nursing in the war:
Sneaking up stairs during a night of the blitz, watching at an open window. Only to be blown across the room when a bomb hit near by. She disclosed this one day to me, suggesting this maybe why her back is so bad now as she never got it looked at for fear of punishment.
The parties she would attend with surgeons, and how she was told off by matron for how low cut the back of her dress was.
I have come to a personal decision that from the varied stories she has told me Betty was very wilful for her day and age! Which would explain where my husband gets it from.
One of the most worrying moments for me was when my husband and myself were staying at Betty’s and she couldn’t get off the stair lift. So we did a ‘controlled fall’ on to me so she didn’t just fall, we had to do it on me as my husband was the other side of her on the stair, and couldn’t get past. She was in an awful state but as always when the ambulance men arrived I knew she was OK by Betty flirting away explaining to them ‘you can do anything to me!’
Even though Betty is now basically bedridden, and looked after by another amazing person: her daughter,my mother in law.
She still lights up as soon as our son, her great grandson comes near her. There is such a strong bond between the two even though they are just under 99 years apart. Words are not needed between them, which is great as he cant talk much and she is very deaf! I can’t explain the joy I feel seeing them together.
Now as she turns 100, family and friends will join us over two days to celebrate this momentous occasion, I feel blessed and privileged to have been able to spend time with Betty and to have heard so many wonderful stories of times lost.
Happy Birthday Betty! Love you, Laura and the monkey. Xxx