I recently lost my 92-year-old grandmother. She was our matriarch.
Born in Kenya in 1928, she moved to Uganda where she married and started a family. She lived through true poverty and many life challenges. She was kicked out of Uganda along with her family, friends and community by the dictator Idi Amin. With very little, she started her life anew as a refugee in England before finally making her way to Canada in the 1970s. Here she stayed and built her home, surrounding herself with family while making new friends.
When she passed away, she left behind many great-grandchildren whom she loved to have around her. She was a magnet in our large family, wanting nothing in life but to be surrounded by love and family gatherings full of eating. This loss opens a big void that will be impossible to fill.
Why are matriarchs so important? What makes a single family member such a powerhouse, and does she have a relevant part to play in modern Western society?
They are role models who give perspective and provide guidance during difficult times. Never has the role of the matriarch been more important than it is today. 2020 has been a challenging year for so many. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, where some would argue, democracy is being threatened, racism has boiled over, gender equality is stalling, and socio-economic gaps are widening. In a year where the world is facing many difficulties, having the strength of a matriarch to lean on is invaluable.
We have many matriarchs as clients today. As defined by Merriam-Webster, a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants. These matriarchs are leaders who bring their families together. They guide and protect family values. They also ensure that finances and family wealth are preserved in a way that reflects these values. Money can make families. And money can break families. As women tend to outlive men, it is often these matriarchs who fall into the responsibility of not only ensuring that family dynamics are nurtured but also that family wealth is safeguarded. In a traditional sign of respect, at Tall Oak Private Wealth, our hats are off to all you matriarchs.