The Milk Memoirs

One part chronicle, one part resource of all things breastfeeding and family life…with a good dose of fun,crafts & mommy realness

The greatness of a Great-Grandmother


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Sidenote:This past Friday morning, we received the sad news that our beloved grandmother, Caroline Porter, had passed away peacefully on the morning of Friday, 5 June 2015.

The sting in my heart is real.

As I put the phone down this past Friday morning, it was not just the news that our (Mike’s) grandmother of 98 years of age had passed away that sliced the deepest, but more the fact that her great grandkids (our children) will never get to truly know this amazing lady, first hand.

There was this overwhelming sense of it all being too late. A mix of emotions actually. There’s an irrational need to want just a few more months so that this time you’ll make more time for her, you wont be so bogged down with life…which is then abruptly halted with a more rational and accepting side of me that has become too familiar with death, that says, tis done. There is no more time. There are no more chances… And the swallowing of that pill, is hard…At 98 years of age, death is no surpise, so in all honesty, for me, that is what causes the greatest sting.

Mothers day walk about with Carol, well in her 90's

Mothers day walk about with Carol, well in her 90’s

Ma Carol was such a force to be reckoned with, and truly encompassed the whole tough as nails kind of lady in every possible way. And now my girls will grow up without real memories being made with her. And this is sad. But I want them to know they came of strong stock. Its like a massive flame that one thought could never be put out, is now on the verge of being totally doused and forgotten – should I fail to keep her memory alive in them. I feel a great need to make sure that they grow up knowing about the incredible things that their great-grandmother did in this world. It would be a loss to them if they didn’t and shame on us for not keeping Carol’s spirit alive through inspiring the next generation with her deeds.

Meeting Morgan-Lee

Meeting Morgan-Lee

I am forever grateful that both our girls at least got to meet her. I mean, how many of us are so blessed to have met one’s great-grandmother?! Still of sound mind she got to hold and ogle Morgan-Lee a few days after birth. She even still managed to make one of her famous dolls for Morgy at the ripe ol’ age of 93. Parker-Grace wasn’t so lucky, in that by the time she got to meet Carol, the anaesthetic from her leg operation had a negative affect on her health and mind. So whilst she could enjoy meeting Parky that day, she had to “meet” her a few times in the space of that short visit, thanks to the dementia starting to truly set in. (We still giggle at how she kept saying Parky was such a pretty boy)

What was the most incredible part of that visit was that day though, was that Parky had on her own, leant in and grabbed Carol’s finger, and proceeded to hold it the entire visit, just staring at Carol. Now that may not sound all ohh-and ahh to you, but if you only knew how not-a-people’s person Parker-Grace was back then, you’d be just as amazed as the rest of us that she didn’t scream in absolute fear and panic that someone was looking at her. But in fact, she volunteered to touch and hold someone who was not mummy.

Connecting moment: She took such delight in her greatgrandchildren.

Connecting moment: She took such delight in her greatgrandchildren.

The girls didn’t spend much time with Carol, but when they did, or when they spoke of her, it always floored Mike and me. I remember when we went to wish her for 98t birthday this year, Morgan looked at her and told me Carol was not feeling well. So she stood by Carol wished her happy birthday, and said in her cute little voice, “Don’t worry Carol, Jesus will make you feel better.”( I kid you not. She said that out of her own.) Followed by, “Im just going to go look for Jesus quickly, Im coming now.” And off she ran through the hallways on a mission…That kid. 🙂

Parker, my one year old again just looked at Carol, after wishing her a “happy bur-day” and then said, “Shame, Cah-roh. She just tired.”…Well observed, my smally. Well observed. These smallies…they have more wisdom in them than society thinks.

About a week before Carol’s death, while tucking Morgan-Lee into bed after singing and prayers, she asked me out of the blue, “Mom, how’s Carol?”. I was very surprised by her question, not that its strange, but it just that it meant she was thinking about her. I promised I’d call to find out the next day. The next day she asked me again-I hadn’t called (bad mom)…But it indicated to me that her interest in Carol was real. And I don’t want her to lose it. Ever.

So I hope to share with them all their great grandmothers accomplishments in this life, and really there is so much. No surprise that in almost a century of life, there’s a lot to tell. Most of which, are not even mentioned here below:

From nursing to being one of the youngest qualified teachers at 15 years old. Living a life of serving others by volunteering for the CANSA association, as well as providing a loving home to several terminally ill children in her own home over the years. To raising my husband and his sister. To running marathons in her eighties, and using her gymnastics in concerts to keep audiences coming back for more – and thus keeping the fund raising going.

So old...So young: Morgan-Lee's1st birthday

So old…So young: Morgan-Lee’s1st birthday

She danced. Boy, could she dance! In fact, she out battled most of our friends at our wedding. She showed them “how low can you go”. Im not even kidding. She could crack a dirty joke well into her nineties, and I loved how she could make us all giggle or laugh out loud with her funny quips at every visit.
Morgan-Lee's1st birthday: Carol engaged everyone, young and old

Morgan-Lee’s1st birthday: Carol engaged everyone, young and old

I’ll tell my children what a total a bad ass she was – and I mean, total bad ass. Quite evident when she was mugged out in Landsdown at the age of 91 (that’s right, who mugs a 91 year old?!) The would-be mugger did not get away with any of her belongings though. She put up a helluva fight, got away with everything, then managed to wave down a car to get help..and could still manage to make fun of herself about the whole situation. Or like when she broke her arm, after falling off from the top of the ladder. She simply put it into a splint herself, and just carried on with life. No complaints. No doctors. Such a rockstar,eh?!



I’d point out to my kids on photos of her terribly artificial eyebrows…eyebrows she still carefully took the time to draw on every day, because she still took pride in herself. I’d tell them about how she was a teacher at a school which caught ablaze, and she managed to get all her children out of the class, except one boy that was trapped in the flames. When she realised this, she didn’t even hesitate, and ran straight through the fire to save that kid, thus sienging her eyebrows off for life. The balls of this woman are just too big.

She travelled through Europe and Australia all on her own, and even made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem – a dream of her’s that she made come true. Keep in mind she was not young at this point already.

Sure, she had a sharp tongue on her, and beware your soul if you were on the receiving end of it, but I suppose the hard life she had, would have some sort of negative impact on her in some way. But the great outweighed the bad in her by far, so it almost didn’t matter. So mostly, what I would really love for my children to take away from her life story, is that she truly dedicated her life to serving others, and never felt like it ever took away from her in any way. In fact, she thrived on it. And that whilst this is hard, it is a greatness that is worthwhile aspiring to. And if that is what one aspires to, one really can’t go wrong.

Her death is purely a reason to celebrate her life, for it was an awesome one. I hope our children will be as captivated by their Great grandmother’s life story. I sure was, and still am.


Author: mommabeartrax

Mother of two (and counting), pregnant with the third and have a sweet little angel in heaven. A very happy wifey, blogger, lover of life and laughter, a clumsy swimmer, loyal friend, Im funnier in my head than I actually am, I am a qualified HypnoBirthing Child Birth Educator, I get inexplicably excited about good food, baking & crafts. Although, I think baking and crafts are just trying to fill a void that my Kenpo and gym-rat days used to fill. Lastly, according to the rest of the world, I fix your printer. But I'm actually a Software Architect.

7 thoughts on “The greatness of a Great-Grandmother

  1. Thanks, Tracey, for sharing these beautiful memories of Ma Carol. This was a very touching and inspiring piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful dedication to Ma Carol. Fonzo and I still remember her with fancy dance moves at your wedding reception! Will never forget her. Thank you for sharing a piece of Ma Carol with all of us reading this piece xx


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