As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, one Maltese family is just grateful to celebrate their matriarch’s 103rd birthday – right after she beat out a COVID-19 infection!
Laura Podesta is not just a nanna or bużnanna – she’s a Maltese bużbużnanna (great great grandmother) with a loving family who depend on her love, advice and gentleness.
Having just turned 103 on the 26th February, her family spoke to Lovin Malta about the incredible woman’s impressive recovery and history.
“She’s been through two world wars and is well-known as one who always prepared meals for those who lost their homes due to the bombing,” Kristina Zammit told Lovin Malta. “She was married to Arthur Podesta, known as Babsy ,who was a Captain in the Army during the Second World War.”
“There are currently five generations in our family, she’s the matriarch and we are all so proud of her. She’s the sweetest most gentle woman, her eyes light up the room.”
The family were waiting with bated breath when they found out Laura had tested positive for COVID-19.
“After she was transferred to Boffa Hospital we were informed that she was asymptomatic – it seems that not even the virus can get the better of her!” Zammit beamed. “And she had a full appetite and was even asking for more food at times. With that, it was quite a smooth road for her. She tested positive for nearly a fortnight but then finally got a negative.”
One of the most frustrating aspects of her catching COVID-19 turned out to be her missing her vaccination appointment, which she hopes to get soon. But being socially distanced from her family has definitely taken its toll on everyone.
“The hardest part has been the lack of touch and physical contact in general with her for one whole year. We worry about her loneliness and isolation at her age, it feels so unfair as she doesn’t quite understand why,” Zammit said.
Grateful for their beloved nanna’s recovery, the family want people to realise the very real and potentially fatal consequences of catching COVID-19.
“We need to keep in mind that many older people, and those living with chronic illness, have important and close relationships with their caretakers – the virus mainly spreads from person to person,” Zammit said. “We couldn’t visit her because of the fear of passing on the virus, yet she still caught it.”
“And if anyone doesn’t believe in the risks of COVID-19 and the global pandemic we’re in by now, there’s not much that will change their mind,” she ended. “We all need to be more intellectually humble, consider the risks if not for yourself for the vulnerable around you. Wear a mask, maintain social distancing, quarantine temporarily if you need to.”
All photos taken before the COVID-19 pandemic