My Auntie Charlotte lived to be a hundred and one years old. Much of her life was a widow and as a woman whose only child died tragically at twenty one, leaving a son whom she raised, her mantra was ” just get on with it”. The same was the case with other women in my family.
I am four generations Welsh and, as a black Welsh person whose family have lived here for generations, we have contributed to this country and helped built Wales to what it is. Whatever that is! I am proud to be black and Welsh and want to be recognised as that. As a patriot of this country and a part of its fabric. Like many families who can trace their ancestry to the Cardiff Docks, generations of women in my family have worked, raised children and headed households. With many fathers, husbands, brothers and male relatives working long months away at sea, or having died young either at sea, as prisoners of war, or early due to ill health, women had to get on with their lives. Mama, my mother, raised seven children, mostly on her own, as well as taking in relatives’ children along the way and opening her house to others in need of some care. She just got on with it. Now, mama used to tell us when she wasn’t well, but when she really got unwell, she stopped saying so and just got on with it. Not wanting us to be worried.
I am the same in many respects. I’ve cared for my children and have worked hard all my life. I have many friends and loads of family and my house is always open and I’m always ready to listen and support people. That said I’m used to doing things for myself and I just like to keep it that way really. I don’t like asking anyone for anything. So my way is just sort it out myself. I know I will need extra support and help in the future. I know there’ll be a time when I won’t be able to just get on with it. Based on my history and my experiences, it will be hard to ask for help.
The one thing I hope is that people who care for me, have the sense, the professional skills to ask me what I need and to listen to me. It’s not rocket science. Being a black person, people can stereotype and think we all eat rice and peas, that we’re all African Caribbean. That not right! You can’t lump me in with anybody else because we’re all unique and we’ve all got our own ways.
If you want to know about me, I always say “Ask me. Just ask me”.