For many, long life may not have been a wish, but an unexpected gift for which they are grateful. This is the case with Advira Coley of Craig Head district in northeast Manchester, who is celebrating her 105th year as a born and bred Jamaican.
Her life’s journey began in the rural district of Norway in Trelawny on October 17th.1905, where she spent most of her childhood days with her god-mother. With many good memories, she however regrets she was not able to attend school, which deprived her of the opportunity to read the bible for herself. Despite her educational setback, she is well versed on the content of the Bible often repeating several Psalms and able to tell the stories as she was taught in Sunday school. She told The Gleaner that she was baptized in 1933 and her clarity of thought and fluidity with which she speaks, leaves no doubt she is a blessed women.
Her inquisitive thought provocative questions hides her age, while her memory rivals those of a much younger person. With seriousness on her face, she said she has out-lived two husbands. Expressing her strong belief in the principles of the Bible, she said life is filled with difficult challenge and it was the Lord who helped her to survive them.
One of six girls to her parents, Mira and David Bennett, Miss Addie, as she is affectionately called, had no biological children but was responsible for many from her community. She is being cared for and made comfortable by one of her adopted grandchild and other members of the Craighead community, who have fond memories of her kindness to them during their junior years.
Some of her community caregivers, such as Donna Daley and Beverly Smith, said it is a joy to take care of her. They pointed out that even at this stage of her life, Mrs. Coley still tries to assist others mostly by praying for them. “When we visit her she makes us feel there is hope and being good and living with others in mind is an integral part of life,” a resident said.
With a sense of humor, good health, the love of the community and God’s will, her friends and neighbors expect Mrs. Advira Coley to remain a beacon in the Craighead community for many more years.