Muriel Ismay Cave doesn’t look a day over 75 but don’t let her youthful looks and buoyant personality fool you, Cave is the island’s newest centenarian.
Filled with life and vigour, she celebrated the milestone at the Sweetfield Manor, Brittons Hill St Michael surrounded by family and friends. Governor General Dame Sandra Mason was surprised by Cave’s cheerful spirit, astute mind and her ‘velvet-like’ skin.
Beautifully attired in a pastel pink dress and a fuchsia hat, Cave was all smiles and full of laughter as she revealed the secret of her lengthy and prosperous life to the Dame. Cave stressed that it was due to her faith in God that she managed to reach a century.
“You got to go to church even if you belly hurt you,” Cave instructed the small group gathered.
A devoted patron of the Cathedral Church of St Michael and All Angels, the former seamstress commented that she was committed to the church from childhood referring to it as her favourite pastime.
“Man can’t make you live… I believe in God from the time I know myself and I had to go to church [even] if ah feel sick,” she added.
Affectionately known as Ismay, Cave grew up in Gills Road, St Michael in the heart of The City. She is the mother of two children and has three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She is also the third individual in her family to live to 100.
As a lover of life and food, especially the national dish cou cou and flying fish, Cave remarked that she wasn’t letting her age stop her. She could often be found doing household chores herself, despite complaints and concern from her children.
“I help myself, I don’t sit down and relax,” Cave said.
Cave’s daughter, 72-year-old Monica Bynoe, referred to her mother as “a strong believer in conquering adversity”. Bynoe, the last surviving child, said her mother’s inner strength, caring and considerate nature was derived from her beliefs.
“Her strength is something that comes from having a very rich faith and that rich faith in God is what got her to this point,” Bynoe commented, adding that her mother has led a rich but simple life.
“For you Mama, the riches of life reside in your interaction with family and friends,” Bynoe added.
She also quoted her mother’s infamous advice “do good and good will attend you”.
Meanwhile, friend of the family, Mary Haynes, described Cave as a “lively, clear-thinking, independent individual with her own views”.
Having known Cave from childhood, Haynes disclosed that ‘Mama’ was “everyone’s mother… everyone’s friend… and everyone’s counsellor if required”. (KK)