A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

Last week I had the distinct privilege of attending a centenarian birthday celebration, as my  remarkable mother-in-law, Rose Gould (see “My Mother-in-law – My Inspiration”) turned 100 years of age.  Since few people reach this milestone, it was a rare opportunity – although, having said that, I might add that my former mother-in-law lived to the age of 103, and her name was also Rose!

The celebration was an incredible event – magnificently orchestrated by her granddaughter – my step daughter – Staci Gould, who (aged mid-40’s) lives with Rose in a retirement community in order that Rose may continue to live independently …this despite the fact that Staci was recently married and has made the unselfish choice to continue to live apart from her spouse and remain with Rose, rather than have her grandmother move into to an assisted living situation.

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

 

The Setting

Staci left no stone unturned in ensuring the enormous success of this tribute to her beloved grandmother. She invited over 100 people which included family from across the North American continent, Rose’s friends from her community and Staci’s own friends, most of whom have known Rose for many years, and love her dearly.  The affair was held in a beautiful venue with floor-to-ceiling glass walls all around. It was catered, and in a prominent spot, surrounded by rose petals, was a three-tiered cake – each tier adorned with edible pictures of Rose and her late husband Al at various stages of their lives. The centerpiece on each table also included photographs of Rose`s life.

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The DJ –an older gentleman – was entirely familiar with the music so popular in my mother-in-law’s younger years (and mine!) – but was equally at home with more contemporary music for the younger crowd.

Let the Games Begin!

The celebrations began the day before the birthday with the arrival of family members – including Rose’s first and only great-grandson, who – at four-months – was meeting his great-grandmother for the first time – an event captured in both pictures and video.

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

We had also arranged for Rose to receive a congratulatory letter from President Obama. Staci had cleverly managed to intercept the mail so that she could frame the letter and accompanying photo, and so that we could present it to Rose together – a wonderful and (of course) totally unexpected surprise. Despite her age she knew perfectly well that someone in the family had arranged this!

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but most definitely not least was a delivery of a gift from Staci – 200 roses, which filled the house with ubiquitous splashes of magnificent colour.

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dressed and ready for the party the next day Rose looked stunning. I could not resist taking photos of her as she posed with characteristic attitude and style, displaying that signature smile that always seems to emanate from deep within, spreading to every fibre of her being.

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

Tributes

Rose greeted her guests with warmth and enthusiasm, amazed at the numbers of people who had taken the time to attend. After dinner my husband – her son Jay – read a poem that he and I had written as a tribute to his mother, and in a moving gesture towards the conclusion – Jay kneeled down to address the seated Rose directly as he praised and thanked her.

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

Staci then tried to speak but her tears prevented that. So adoring of her grandmother, she becomes tearful with emotion at the drop of a hat.

The party was held from 5.00 to 9.00 pm and I believe that Rose stood for most of the time, walker close by for safety. After dancing with Jay to the 50’s song “You’ll Never Know [how much I love you]” – another tear-jerker – Rose joined the younger dancing set with linedancing (!) and ended the party with a brilliant and breathtaking waltz – her 88-year-old ballroom dancing instructor as her partner. I have watched the video of that dance over and over, astounded by my mother-in-law’s agility, rhythm, balance, musicality – and joyfulness.

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

 

What Makes My Mother-in-law So Special?

Without question, Rose’s most endearing and admirable qualities are her joie de vivre and her attitude. With an ever-present smile, she never complains, (even when she has good reason to do so), is always positive and extremely appreciative, exercises every single day, and devours the newspapers to keep abreast of current affairs. Though she is slightly hard of hearing, and her memory isn’t what it used to be (which upsets her since she is acutely aware of this), she is agile and energetic, such that she walks faster and further that I do – and she is 33 years older than I am!

Although it is easy to understand Staci’s unshakable devotion to her grandmother, Jay and I applaud her – for the choices and sacrifices she is making to ensure her grandmother’s well-being and happiness … for her constant availability to attend to Rose’s practical needs … and for arranging and orchestrating this incredible and memorable tribute.

Rose Gould, truly loved and revered by all who know her, is the quintessential source of inspiration, and I thank Staci for all she does to foster the continuation of Rose’s gift to her family and to society.

A Centenarian Birthday Celebration

Posted on June 20, 2014 by Adele Gould
In: Magical Moments, Uncategorized
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