Last month I posted about my Grandma Williams and the memories I have with her. Today I want to remember my Grandma Francis. Both were named Evelyn, both were very different woman. One was a farmer’s wife and the other a waitress. Both were loved by me. While dementia took away my Grandma Williams, my Grandma Francis was taken by breast cancer at the age of 52.
Grandma Francis was the mother of ten kids. When she died she still had a couple of teenagers in the house. I was only about seven and at the time didn’t realize how young she actually was. I didn’t see her as much as I saw my Grandma Williams as she worked long hours as a waitress at Howard Johnson’s. I waitressed through high school and college and can tell you that it was weary on a young body and cannot imagine waitressing through my forties and into my fifties!
She had glamorous big hair and was very beautiful. Now I know it was a wig (she had thin hair due to an illness at a young age) but at the time it was amazing to have a grandma with such hair! She also always had cookies in the cookie jar. When telling my brother which grandma we were going to go see I would say Cookie Jar Grandma.
I can remember being in her kitchen with my mom and aunts when she pulled up her shirt to show them the mastectomy site. I left the room. I remember clearly being embarrassed about seeing my grandmother this way. I had no idea what was going on. I hope I did not hurt her feelings by leaving. I’m sure she knew I was just a kid. I now wish I would have stayed and see the scars, and felt that loss with her.
I can also remember her in the hospital. They put her on the children’s ward and we couldn’t visit her. She was to weak to come to the window to wave, but my grandpa waved to us. We handle death so differently now with kids and I am thankful that I have memories of Elle running around and talking to her Pap Pap the day he passed away. She may not remember, but I can tell her about the joy he had watching her at that time.
I feel a loss of not knowing her more. I wonder what made her laugh, what made her cry, what her favorite song was? I’ll never learn these things first hand. I know my mother feels a loss of losing her mother when she was only in her twenties. I am thirty-five and my mom is my dearest friend. What would I do without her? Why has this breast cancer disease been allowed to continue to pillage the lives of our mothers, sisters, daughters and the men in our lives?
We are aware of breast cancer. We know about the pink. We get mamograms, do self-breast exams and donate money. What else can we do? We can help with research and we can work on prevention of the desease. My next post on breast cancer will be dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer.
Cherly’s Cookies sent me two samples of their Cookies For the Cure cookie they have in honor of this month of pink. Ten percent of the money from said cookies will be given to Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Columbus Affiliate). Koman has given my area of Ohio grants for woman to get mammograms who cannot afford them. Women without insurance. Thanks Komen and thanks Cherly’s for donating to this cause. The cookies were delicious by the way, but of course… they were Cherly’s!
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