I have just discovered with horror that I have given to my 99 years old grand-mother an extra year. I have claimed that she will be a century old this year. My dad kindly reminded me that she was only born in 1914.
She will have seen 36159 sunrises in her life. Some more beautiful than others. She was born at the dawn of a World war in a region of France that has always been a source of distrust, cultural and geographical ambivalence between France and Germany. I try to imagine what it could have been to start your life in the heart of this heinous and violent maelstrom that men have created for themselves.
As she reached her twenties, she found herself at the dawn of another war. Being 20 years old should be the time for the discovery of love and the confirmation of your potential and contribution to yourself and to others. The youth of Europe was already on the edge of a mortal sacrifice. Like her before, her children were raised during wartime or just after it. Despite the circumstances, she managed to live a life and to provide for her children.
I have learned a lot from my grandmother. She introduced me to History, Patrimonies, Art and the importance of a beautiful handwriting… I remember escorting her during my university years to beautiful Parisian events for which she used to travel from her loving city of Metz. We always met at her tiny but still elegant hotel near la gare de l’Est. She was holding my arm as we walked through Paris, talking and sharing our lives. She used to compliment me all the time. I was her grandson with “the tall body attracted by the moon” and often, felt that I was her favourite grand-child.
She made me feel important and valued but always challenged my choices, making sure that I had the right amount of faith and thinking to realise them. I am a child of the sixties. I remember the first time my parents purchased a television in colour and had their first telephone installed. Today, I carry a smart phone, use a tablet and have access to any information I want via the web. I can influence, share my opinion and have my personal data becoming marketing data. I feel more empowered but more vulnerable too. The world is changing so much, so fast that I cannot imagine how I will see it when I will experience my 36159th sunrise. I am just praying that we will become wiser and at peace.