Wise words from my greats

Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim shares wise words from her family greats.

I try and live a life with no regrets... but any regrets I do have are around the people I've loved and lost.

I don't regret that I didn't spend more time with them because I think I did that well, I just regret that they're not here right now. I'm sad that they're not here to meet my awesome kids, or for me to tap into the great life advice I'm sure they'd have to offer. Or to just be with them. Yeah, that.

I miss the Great people in my life. Like my Grandad who only had one leg, and was the most intimidating person I ever met. I know he was so smart and wise, but at the age of 9 I didn't ever get to appreciate it. 

Or my Pop who had the most brilliant sense of humour, and would make anyone laugh who came into his company. I can tell you right now, he would be so proud of me, and I don't say that easily. He'd be telling all the people in the town about the things I've been doing. He would have been boasting left right and centre. I miss him.

I also miss my beautiful Nanna Rosey. Oh, how I miss her. She died 10 years ago this year and it sucks. She was the sweetest person I've ever met. She had the biggest heart in all the world. She was a one of a kind. Her skin was so soft and wrinkly, and I can almost remember the way she smelled. She was the best. Anyone in my family would tell you the same. I learned how to love from her; pure, unconditional love.

When I was a nanny, I used to trek out to her nursing home every other Friday with the little boy I nannied. It was over an hour drive, but we did it because it was special for me, my nanna and the little boy I cared for. We did it for almost a year and then one day Rosey, who was suffering from dementia, said to me, "Who are you? You keep coming to visit me, but I don't know who you are." I laughed, but inside my heart broke. It was devastating to lose someone I loved so dearly so painfully and slowly.

My mum's side of the family, we all have part of Nanna Rosey in us. You can see it in our eyes, and you can feel it in our hearts. It might be hard to see it without knowing her or us, but from within I see it. I feel it. We all care about each other. We care about others. We love each other. We know life is short. We dance hard {well, they make me dance}. We support each other. There's no drama, just love. I feel blessed to be part of this clan. You'll find that most of our kids are named after Nanna Rosey in some way. She was just that special to us all.

As Nanna deteriorated we all tried caring for her ourselves. Some moved in with her, we moved her into our house for a while, and then we had to make the heartbreaking decision to move her into a nursing home. My aunt immediately got a job working at the nursing home to be closer to her. Caring for someone with dementia isn't easy, but we did it in a way that was best for everyone.

Bupa asked me to go and get advice from my Greats, from the people in my life that I look up to. I'd have loved to have been able to go to Nanna, or Grandad or Pop and picked their brains for their best advice. Instead I went to the next best thing, the people in my life I look up to, who were touched by Nanna Rosey. My family. They're my Greats. I asked them one simple question: What great advice would you give to your 20 year old self?

Here's what they had to say:

Chantelle's Mum
My beautiful mum: "Don't try to grow up too fast! Enjoy your younger years."
Aunty Robyn
My Aunty Robyn: "It is OK to be a busy working mum. We shouldn't feel guilty about the impact on our children because we are role modelling for our girls that it is OK to have a job and a life and you can still have great kids too!"
Cousin Nicole
My cousin Nicole: "There will be so many good and bad experiences in your life. Don't let the bad experience fuel your mistakes. They all happen for a reason. There will people that leave your life, and accidents and they all happen for a reason. Trust it."
Cousin Kate
My cousin Kate: "Question everything! Stick-up for yourself, trust in your ability to act and think on your feet much quicker. Heartache exists so treat those that are close to you with the respect and fairness they deserve and don't be selfish. Always strive to do the right thing even when it feels like you have been dealt a really bad hand. Keep dancing - it always feels great no matter how old you are!"
Brother Tim
My brother Tim: "If you're not in with 'the cool crowd' don't let it get you down or make you think you're not good enough. Your true friends will like you for who you are, not your popularity status."
Cousin Laura
My cousin Laura: "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. So there's no point worrying about what might happen, just wait to see what surprises lay in store."
Cousin Emily
My cousin Emily: "Don't stress over small mistakes or failures. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture and focus on what really matters. There is probably a reason things didn't go to plan or you didn't succeed at first, so remind yourself that you can only build upon your mistakes and failures. More than likely, bigger and better things lie ahead. And if all else fails, remember to laugh about it with those you love and find comfort in them."
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