Everyday Hunter looks at the photo in his room and gives ‘Gema’ a kiss. I never taught him to do it, he just always did it himself and says Gema. He knows when I talk about her and I want him to always know she is with us. When he is alone or scared, he will always have her protecting him. And my other children. My brother and I always bring her up and talk about her little quirks, what she would say or do in any situation, but I want something written so we can’t ever loose her memory.
Name / s:
Born Suzanne Stafford to John and Irene.
She took the confirmation name Marie after our lady. So she became Suzanne Marie Stafford. She later became Suzanne Marie Sawyer (her first husband Richard) and then later marrying my Father, John and she became Suzanne Marie Grima.
26 September 1951
13 August 2015 (aged 63)
2 older half sisters: Sandra and Jan. Sandra died from a heart attack at 40 years old.
Mum was the eldest to her two younger siblings. Phillis (Pip) 11months younger and Lee – 7 years younger.
Catholic. She wasn’t baptised as a child as her father was Church of England and her mother was Catholic. She was the only one who decided to become a Catholic like her Mother which did when she was 13 years old.
Born and raised:
Born in Newcastle, grew up in Bankstown, NSW (Gardenia Avenue).
School days / upbringing:
Pop had a milk run but then later worked for Telecom (Telstra). Grandma was a house wife and apparently a fantastic baker. Both her parents had English heritage (Leeds and Scotland). Mum had such a fond spot for England in her heart.
The book worm. The A+ student. The good girl. Her younger sister Pip was always in trouble at school and the teachers never believed they were related. Pip used to put an apple on Mum and Aunty’s Lee head and throw darts at them!
As Mum got older and went on her first date, Grandma didn’t want her to go alone. So she had to take Aunty Lee (her sister who was 7 years younger). So mum, her date and Aunty Lee at the dinner table (third wheel?). Mum was mortified when her little sister, half way through the meal, took her shoes off and put them on the dinner table 🙈
Suzie Q, Suzie Sausage (when she was little), little mum, SQ, Suzuki, little Sue, Sueridge (all from my brother!).
When she passed she worked for Sylvandale in Recruitment. She worked most of her career in the bank as a loans manager then managing accounts for various companies. Extremely hard worker and always put in more hours than expected. She had the best work ethic I have even known. She hardly ever took a sick day.
Marriage / s:
At 19 she married Richard which they were married for 11 years. They never could fall pregnant, trying everything. Ironically, they both fell pregnant seperately in their second marriages (Richard’s second wife) and they are the same age as my brother and myself!
At 30 she married my father, John. They were married for 11 years. (We always joked she got rid of them after 11 years!). She had my brother Adam at 31 and myself at 34.
At 48 she met her partner Nick. They were together for 15 years, when she passed away.
Adam John Joseph Charles Grima – 5.4.1983 (aged 31 when she had him)
Joanne Lee Theresa Irene Grima (now Zammit) 21.9.1985 (aged 34 when she had me).
Grandchildren (to date):
Hunter Francis John Zammit 18.4.2016
Baby Zammit due Oct 2017
Joanne’s husband – Adam Karl Zammit
Adam’s fiancé – Jade O’Bryan
Where she raised her children:
Bundeena. She bought her first house at 19 years old. Paying $4000! She lived there with her first husband then her second husband, and raised her two children there. She lived there for 31 years.
Engadine. She lived here with partner Nick and her children until they moved out, for 13 years, which is where she passed away.
Little quirks / loves:
- Her car dancing, always got caught. A guy at work said to her once, I like your car dancing! (He was behind her the whole drive to work and she had no idea 😳😂).
- Her little side shoulder roll with leg kick up (this was her signature dance move)
- She loved Fleetwood mac and Stevie Nicks. Her favourite song was Desperado. She liked Sam Smith later in life.
- Shopping was her number one hobby and passion!!
- Loved reading books. The biggest book worm I know. She would read every single night without fail. She read about 3 books at a time.
- She loved gardening.
- A stickler for the seatbelt. She wouldn’t take off unless you had it on.
- She was a nervous passager in the car, always putting her foot on the ‘break’.
- She always rearranged the furniture every couple of months as she loved styling and was very house proud.
- Her meals: chicken and broccoli, tuna casserole, baked dinners, best soups ever and best potato salad.
- She was very picking with her cup of tea. It had to be really strong. The tea bag had to be left in there for a while but not too long so it wouldn’t stew. And only a dash of milk. God love her
- Always had a pet dog. Sassy, Boonie, Casey, Chloe and Bella.
- Her coffee was always a flat white until later when she loved Chai Lattes.
- She hated garlic. And seafood.
- She loved cakes, cream and date scones.
- She liked to accessorise with a scarf.
- She always had this ‘little fat lady’ (just a simple little statue) but she loved it.
- She was very well spoken, very polite and quiet (but swore like a trooper 😂).
- She used to love to float in the pool (she was really good at it).
- She had naturally beautiful and long nails.
- She was a blonde for most of her life and went to the hair dressers every 6 weeks without fail.
- Loved travelling and saw most of the world with her first husband. Always encouraged my brother and I to travel.
- Always took us on holidays. The Gold Coast annually.
- Her house was always very neat and clean but her cupboards were always a mess (haha – she would hate me saying that).
- She always wanted to be a primary school teacher.
- She was good at Maths and English. She had a vast vocabulary.
- Very gentle, kind and graceful.
- Very tough and took a lot for her to break down and cry.
- A sensitive soul. Great sense of humour (very cheeky).
- Very thoughtful and generous. Always would buy the best gifts, for anyone and everyone. My brother and I always got everything we wanted, we never went with out, we always had the best of everything even though she was a single mother.
- A perfectionist with very high standards. People would often disappoint her.
- A private person and at times reserved.
- Extremely selfless and always put others before her, always put her children’s happiness in front of hers. Always.
- Very hard working and outstanding work ethic.
We miss you with every heart beat Mummy. There is not a few hours that go by that you aren’t thought about or talked about. We love you so much, and thank you for you ever did for us. Happy birthday our angel. Xoxo
Family photo (Mum hated red, but took it for my Grandmother who loved it). Jo is 2, Adam is 5, Mum is 36.
Mum and Dad. Mum is 30.
Christmas 1986. Jo is 1, Adam is 4, Mum is 35.
Mum with Bella. She is 50.
Adam is 6, Jo is 2, Mum is 36.
At wedding. Mum is 27, Mum is 61.
Mum’s wedding day (aged 19) with her two sisters, Lee and Pip.