Eliza Johnson may have lost her sight but that sure has not dampened the 104-year-old’s spirit in any way.
Sitting in her bright colours and sunglasses outside Downsview Long Term Care nursing home where she now lives one can only envy the tranquility she possesses.
Born in 1908 on the outskirts of Spring Gardens, Trelawney, Jamaica, Mother Eliza, as her relatives affectionately call her, moved to Canada 25 years ago to live with her daughter, Elise Peddie, because she was no longer able to care for herself.
“My life in Jamaica was very happy; it is a nice place to live,” she says. “I loved living for the Lord and being active in my local church but I couldn’t take care of myself anymore.”
The mother of two lived with her daughter until March of this year when both her daughter and son, Constantine Blackwood, reluctantly decided to place her in a nursing home.
She fell from the stairs and hit her head in her daughter’s home six years ago. This was how she lost her sight.
“It was very difficult to keep on looking after her and although I didn’t want to, my brother and I decided to place her in the nursing home,” said Peddie.
Mother Eliza has no qualms about living in the nursing home as her children still visit her regularly.
“My children still come and visit me every day. I wish other children would treat their parents as my children treat me,” she said proudly.
A faithful member of Revival Time Worldwide Ministries pastored by Dr. Audley N. James who, she says, visits her regularly and prays with her, Johnson loves to read, particularly her Bible and her newspaper of choice, Share. Now, having lost her ability to see, her daughter reads the paper to her every week to help her stay informed of what’s happening in her community.
She says that her longevity lies in the food she eats.
“I have lived a good life,” she says. “I have had plenty to eat, plenty to drink. I love pork and chicken but not much fish and I love my callaloo.”
Johnson, who will celebrate her 105th birthday on September 5, is the proud grandmother of eight, great-grandmother of 26 and great-great grandmother of seven.