Woman, 107, pens an 'inspirational' letter of hope amid pandemic

Woman, 107, who’s lost her husband and two children and lived through two world wars, financial crashes and the Spanish flu pens a letter of hope to reassure people things ‘will get better’

  • Nancy Stewart from Clonard, County Meath, celebrated her 107th birthday
  • She posted a letter on Facebook, reflecting on the global crises in her lifetime
  • Country’s oldest woman lived through wars, financial crashes and Spanish flu
  • She urged people to think of each other and keep smiling despite the pandemic 

Ireland’s oldest woman marked her 107th birthday with an ‘inspirational’ letter to offer hope to people struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Widow Nancy Stewart, from Clonard, County Meath, penned an insightful note which reflected on the multiple wars, financial crashes and health crises she’s witnessed throughout her lifetime. 

Celebrating her milestone birthday during the coronavirus pandemic, she explained the importance of continuing to look forward with hope and showing love to others.

Her heartfelt correspondence was shared on Facebook by Nancy’s granddaughter Louise, racking up over 43,000 shares.

Nancy Stewart (pictured) from Clonard, County Meath, Ireland, who recently celebrated her 107th birthday, penned a letter offering hope during the current global crisis 

Having experienced painful personal loss in addition to the devastation she witnessed in Ireland during the two world wars, Nancy said it’s important that everyone keeps believing that things will get better.

She wrote: ‘My name is Nancy Stewart and I was born on the 16th of October 1913. This weekend I turn 107 years of age. Imagine turning 107 in a world pandemic. This definitely is something very unusual even for me and all I have been through. I live in Clonard in County Meath and have lived in my home for over 83 years.

‘I lost my husband in a car crash in 1989, and lost my twin daughters – Margaret in 2007 to motor neurone and Anne in 2010 to utter heartbreak of losing her sister. I’ve lost all my friends throughout the years which comes with living so long on this earth.

‘I’m very lucky to still have three daughters, Kathleen, Mary and Olive, and one son Finian, and I have 84 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

Nancy (pictured) revealed she’s lived through the death of her husband, loss of twin daughters, two world wars, financial crashes and the Spanish flu pandemic 

‘I have faced many heartbreaking moments and also have seen many hard times in our country witnessing world wars, division in our people and numerous sad times for our nation.’ 

Encouraging those who are struggling, she continued: ‘I write to you today to send you my love and to offer you my prayers. We are in a very difficult time at the moment in our country, in our lives and in our world. But I reach out to you in this letter to offer you hope, faith and belief that everything will be OK in the end.

‘We are in another stage of this battle against the virus but we will get through this. Like everything I’ve been through since the day I was born in 1913, no matter how bad things have got, I’m the living proof that we can survive and in years to come, this will just be a distant memory.

‘I have a great faith and it has helped me keep positive throughout the struggles I’ve met. I thank you for keeping your faith and for keeping your resilience strong, through this hard time. Sadly for the moment, we can no longer stretch out to a friend and embrace them nor can we call to each other’s houses.’

Nancy said she’s living proof that it’s possible to survive crisis and reassured many that the current devastation will one day be a distant memory 

Nancy told how she has been in lockdown in her house since March, along with her granddaughter Louise – and despite the fact it’s been ‘tough’, the pair have ‘got through it together’.

She told how they drink tea, bake, laugh and say prayers, and keep in touch with the rest of their family via phone.

‘I can even video call lots of my family and friends and am making new friends everyday that God gives me on this earth,’ Nancy went on. ‘And that’s a very important thing to say. 

‘If you are feeling low, make sure to try call someone or even go for a walk. I also ask God to help me if I’m feeling low. This is a hard time for everyone but please make sure you keep yourself well and wear your mask. If you keep healthy, your mind will stay healthy too.’

Nancy urged people to keep talking to one another, claiming this has helped get her through difficult times over the years.  

Nancy, who has been in her house since March, revealed she’s grateful to have her granddaughter Louise (pictured) with her

‘We must try to make sure we leave nobody behind and also that we don’t lose sight of each other,’ she added.

‘This is a moment for humanity to step forward to take care of the other. We must mind ourselves but we must also mind all those around us.’

She also encouraged people to look up and smile, even while wearing a mask, because it will show through their eyes and may help someone else who is feeling low to ‘keep going’. 

‘No good deed ever goes unnoticed so try your best to keep being good. We are not here to live for ourselves but to live for each other,’ Nancy went on.

Nancy revealed she doesn’t feel any older than 50 and listed wholesome food and tea among her top tips for a long life – and admitted she hopes she’ll be around for her next birthday.

‘We must always look forward. I can’t believe I’m the oldest person in Ireland living in my own home, I don’t feel that old,’ she said. 

Nancy went on to thank people for reading her letter and concluded by reassuring people this hard time ‘will pass like all the rest’.  

Nancy urged people to consider each other and said she would be praying for all those who read her letter. Pictured: Nancy and Louise 

A stream of responses to the post wished Nancy a happy birthday and praised her for sharing the heartwarming advice.

One person wrote: ‘Thank you for your letter Granny Nancy. It is a dark time in our world and here at home as my mum struggles with her health. Your kindness does bring a light into a very lonely place. Thank you and happy birthday!’

Another said: ‘Words won’t express how much you touched my soul when I read your letter. Believe me your words and sincerity help more people than you’ll ever know.’ 

A third added: ‘Well that is a gorgeous letter Nancy, full of good advice. You’re a great woman. It’s lovely yourself and Louise are together to help each other along. I loved my granny when she was alive too.

‘Your generation have much to teach the rest of us. Full of good advice and show the way how to get along with things in a quiet, simple manner. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom.’

‘Happy birthday Nancy, thank you for your uplifting post, you have given me hope for the future, if you at the wonderful age of 107 can have hope after all you’ve lived through, then so can we as a nation. God bless and you’ll be in my prayers,’ another said.

Many responses to the post wished Nancy a happy birthday and thanked her for offering her words of hope and wisdom 

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