A wonderful family

Strong family connections are important in our lives, and as we grow older having a close-knit family becomes even more special.

Holmwood Aged Care resident, Joy Wall, reflects on the good times she spent with her family throughout her life. Now, she enjoys creating new memories with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

‘I grew up in England, with two sisters and two brothers,’ Joy says. She and her siblings lived in the countryside, with plenty space to play around. ‘We were self-reliant and made our own fun,’ she recalls. ‘There was no technology, so we were outdoors a lot. After the war, we would go to pools and to the river for a swim. We also went to the beach a lot.’

When Joy reflects on her family growing up, she remembers her oldest brother as a kind and lovely man. ‘I absolutely adored my eldest brother,’ she says. ‘I am sure I was a pain in the neck at the time, but I adored him, and he never held it against me.’

Joy also has fond memories of her parents and the valuable lessons they taught her, which she passed onto her own children. ‘My father was a sensible and clever man,’ she says. ‘He always told us to “Speak your truth”, and that has always stayed with me.’ Joy reflects on her parents’ relationship with admiration, recalling that she never heard them argue. ‘They were always so kind to one another, and I instilled that later in my own life,’ she says. ‘I had a wonderful and happy marriage, and we rarely had a disagreement. We didn’t always agree with each other, but we loved and respected each other’s opinions.’

Joy came to Australia with her husband David and their four children, two sons and two daughters. ‘I had four children, and the youngest was 2 – on a ship! That was quite an adventure, I don’t recommend it nowadays.’ With a smile on her face, she reflects on those challenging family journeys, ‘I laugh now, but I remember that my youngest went up on the deck with his siblings. He was riding a little tractor and was rolling over the deck towards the edge when my eldest grabbed him.’ As a young family, it was quite an experience to spend 4 weeks travelling together. ‘I remember the boat rocking side to side. One minute seeing nothing and thinking “Why are we doing this”, but we have had a wonderful life in Australia,’ she says.

Decades later, Joy reflects on her growing family, with so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren that it’s becoming difficult to keep track. ‘David and I had a wonderful family. I have 9 grandchildren and I think 9 great-grandchildren. I’m not sure, there’s so many to count.’ Joy says she loves spending time with them and loves each and every one of them. ‘It always means the absolute most to me when I am with them,’ she says. ‘They are all wonderful people, and they’ve made their way in the world, and I am so proud of all of them.’

Now at Holmwood, Joy notices some similarities to what life was previously like when living with her family. ‘There are other residents and many of us are very close, we are always there for one another,’ she says. ‘We get to know each other families here as well. It can be tricky sometimes as you are with them all or most of the time, but I suppose it’s like any family when you want some time to yourself,’ she shares with a smile. ‘We have some lovely ladies and really caring men who look out for us. It’s really lovely, I like it.’