Angela Pirdas, known as ‘Kikitsa’ to her dearest friends, succumbed to cancer on 1 March.Despite her illness, her death caused shock in the community.
A much-loved member of the diaspora, the journalist had worked as a presenter for the Greek program of SBS and was also known for being part of the Neos Kosmos family for many years. Readers also enjoyed her penmanship at Nea Patrida, which later merged with Greek Herald. She also worked as a Greek school teacher, doing her bit to help keep the language alive in the antipodes. She was also a very loving Yiayia.
Her grand-daughter wrote a tribute for a very special lady.
When I first experienced heartbreak, Yiayia told me to pretend that I was a soldier. I had just returned to my camp after losing the day of war. She told me to shut my eyes and go to sleep. But soon the sun would rise, the soldier would wake up and face another day.
My Yiayia was an incredible pocket-sized woman. A sweet little mouse. She bewitched everyone who met her, she was cheeky, kind and had a golden soul. I introduced her to all my friends, Greek or not, as Yiayia. And she was Yiayia to all of us. She made everyone around her feel warm, important, and loved. When Yiayia first was diagnosed with breast cancer we walked in the Mother’s Day Classic to raise money for breast cancer. She was too sick to come that day, but after the walk I went to her house and showed her photos from the day. She cried because she was so touched.
When I was in year 10, Yiayia drove on the wrong side of the road on Princess Highway for a good 500 metres. I told her she was on the wrong side of the road, as did the other drivers beeping at her, she did not care. I think she even beeped them back.
When I was little, I used to play a game to test Yiayia to see how much she loved me. I would ask her to do one outlandish favour after the other, to see how far I could push. My experiment proved that Yiayia would do anything to see me happy.
That comforting sentiment stayed with me into adulthood. When I realised the reverse was true. I would do anything to see my Yiayia happy. I have many beautiful memories of my recent time spent with Yiayia. I remember when her hair grew back after the chemo, it grew back white, so we tried to dye it blonde and it ended up fluorescent orange. We stayed up all night laughing.
Yiayia was a night owl, so she would stay up all night watching Greek TV or playing Candy Crush when I would come home from nights out. She always wanted to hear all the gossip and provide late night snacks.
No matter what was going on, even in the middle of a pandemic, Yiayia still always looked immaculate. I have never seen her nails unmanicured, in fact, right now they are copper orange.
Thank you, Yiayia, for all that you have taught me. Thank you for showing me what pure, unselfish and unconditional love looks like. Thank you for being my best friend and closest confidante. Thank you for never judging me and always being proud of me. Thank you for believing in me and showing me what a strong woman looks like. I hope that I can make you proud. I hope that when you are looking down on me, you are laughing, because my favourite thing about you was how you never took life too seriously.