It’s not every day that you receive a personalised message from the Queen in the mail, but for Vasiliki Mihos, that became a reality this week with the celebration of her 100th birthday.
The adored mother, grandmother and great-grandmother celebrated the exciting milestone on Wednesday 2 March surrounded by those dearest to her.
One of her 10 grandchildren, George Mihos, described the day as very emotional, both for Vasiliki and the family.
“We are all so proud of our beautiful and kind-hearted grand matriarch of the Mihos family,” George told Neos Kosmos.
“She was very reflective, telling us stories of her youth and days in Greece.”
Born in the village of Vlaseika in the municipality of Messina, Greece in 1916, it was in 1974, aged 58, that she decided to migrate to Australia.
That year proved to be a difficult one for Vasiliki, coinciding with the death of her husband of 38 years.
Despite her tragic loss, however, it was with great strength and determination that she bid farewell to her beloved hometown and ventured Down Under to live with her eldest son Theodore and his wife Efstathia in Melbourne’s suburb of Thomastown.
Passionate about her family and always willing to lend a hand, Vasiliki eventually moved to her current residence in Templestowe, where she lived with her son Kosta, daughter-in-law Merssina and granchildren Vicki and George, upon whom she has left a marked impression.
“Our grandmother is truly an amazing and inspirational woman who has graced her family and everyone she meets with unconditional love, kindness, wisdom and strength,” George said.
It is only in the last four years that she has come to face health issues, undergoing three hip surgeries due to falls and fractures. But according to George, even that hasn’t been enough to lower her spirits.
“Each time our grandmother has approached her rehabilitation with gusto and commitment to get better, and she gets home quickly to tend to her favourite past time – her treasured veggie patch,” he says, adding that it is his grandmother who taught him the true meaning of patience and perseverance.
Celebrations on Wednesday were kept to a minimum, however, with the morning spent in hospital visiting her son Theodore, who was admitted to hospital on Monday.
So what exactly does the centenarian attribute her long life to exactly?
“Daily early morning brisk walks, a delicious Mediterranean diet and doting on all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” says George.
Oh, that “and good genes”, he said, adding that his great-grandfather, Vasiliki’s father, also lived to celebrate his 100th year.