My Grandma passed away in 2020, at the grand old age of ninety. Admittedly, this seems like a depressing way to begin an article. However, on International Women's Day, I can't think of a single woman close to me that has inspired me more than her. I am very lucky to have been so close to my Grandma; she lived just five minutes from my home and I spent half of my childhood at her house. I loved my Grandma as she taught me to love travelling, cooking and craft. However, her life before I was born is what really inspires me, and is something I have learnt more about after her death.
Born in 1930, she was a child of the war and used to tell me and my sister about it regularly. When we were young, her "during the war" phrase became a bit of a joke. However, as we both grew, and discovered a love of history, the history she was a part of became more and more profound to me. The things she went through as a child and young woman - from rationing and air raids to losing her mum at a young age - certainly shaped the strong woman she grew into. Not to mention the way she cared for my Grandad throughout his battle with Alzheimer's. In fact, she was the strongest person I knew, right until the end. I am writing about her because, on International Women's Day, I think it is important to think of all the inspirational women in our lives, even if they are not with us. If I could have my time again with Grandma, there are so many more questions I would have asked about her life and journey through history.
I will preface this by saying that if my sister reads this, she’ll feel nothing but repulsion at this affection. However, it seems only right to pay tribute to the powerhouse of a woman who has made me into the person I am today. My sister has had dreams beyond belief, and she has never failed to make them come true, and I find that truly inspiring.
She worked her way into grammar school, then into her dream university, then into a school where she became everyone’s favourite teacher. She went to medical school, becoming a junior doctor at the worst possible time without a graduation for payment. She held through plastic the hands of patients who couldn’t be with their loved ones, and made sure husbands and wives were reunited once more. Most importantly, she did and continues to do all of this whilst being the best sister, daughter, granddaughter, fiancé and mum to my gorgeous (dog) nephew, Archie.
Despite all of these incredible achievements, Charlotte is still exactly the same to me as she was when I was a baby and she was 8. She’s Dr Hogg, but she’s also just my big sister. We still watch crappy movies together, go on iced coffee runs when I’m home in the summer and curl each other’s hair. She still judges every man I ever mention, we still go for boogies in Flares and most of all, she is still genuinely my best friend.
It's one thing to have done so much and have so many achievements to your name, but to be an incredible human being and sister at the same time? That’s truly inspiring.
In recent years, global pandemic considering, I have realised what many other girls do in society nowadays; that it is the women around us that make the most impact on our lives. I could mention my mum, my best friend, or a teacher, but I want to shed the light on someone who we don’t always think of first. Our little sister.
Mine not much younger than myself, has taught me more than I will ever know simply by being a little braver and inspiring me to be stronger for her. She has inspired me to be kinder (maybe let her wear that dress when she asks) or even a little more confident in her presence (perhaps ask for that extra ketchup at McDonald’s).
Now being younger, we can’t really look up to little sisters, we do everything in life before they do, so they don’t provide much insight or knowledge. However, she inspires me because the more I want to do for her, the more I want to do for others. She initiates a motivation in me that an older person doesn’t provide, making me want to better the world by fighting the inequalities she may face and standing up for her when she needs it. Having a little sister inspires in me a drive, motivation, and strength to be better and to make the world a better place.