There’s something to be said about knowing your roots. A sense of empowerment from understanding your heritage and your people.
I grew up in Australia, in a different city to my extended family and I never really knew them too well. I would spend occasions with my mother’s side of the family and though I love them dearly, I never really felt that I had that much in common with their character traits and personalities. I felt… rare around them. Like a piece of a different puzzle meshed in to an otherwise seamless picture.
Then in December 2005, my grandmother on my Father’s side (known as Ninny) spent Christmas with me and my immediate family in our home in Perth. We all travelled to spend this Christmas day together, it was the first I had ever spent with Ninny, and sticks in my mind as a truly memorable day.
Here is a picture of that Christmas lunch. Pictured is my brother Jeremy’s partner Kristie, myself, mum, Ninny, Rachel (my sister-in-law) and my late brother Kristian. Not pictured is my brother Jeremy, and my dad, who took this photo.
This was the moment, the first moment in my life where I knew I belonged, and I felt a part of a family. This was a defining moment for me – sitting at a table of like-minded people, with the same spark, the same sense of humour, the same relational style.
This was the moment I knew where I came from.
I am an Anderson.
I have never forgotten this day, nor the feeling I felt when it was like the planets aligned and I knew I belonged. I was an Anderson, and these were my family.
This afternoon about 5pm Melbourne time, my Ninny passed away into eternity after suffering a bad fall and surprisingly to our family, also from cancer. She had battled with this illness alone, at the age of 91. She had kept it to herself to save us the ache.
She has now slipped peacefully into eternity.
My heart is heavy. My Ninny and I had a very close relationship. She was always encouraging, and we shared a sarcasm laden relationship based around a deep love and understanding of what it meant to be an Anderson.
I want to thank Ninny for empowering me to love who I am, and understand where I come from.
I will miss you very much.