I originally wrote this post on August 1, 2011. I lost my old website due to ignoring some emails that I actually thought was spam and lot my blog of over 11 years at that time – this post was one of my most cherished, they even read it at my grandma’s memorial service. When I was going through some old files this past week, I came across a backup. My eyes welled with tears of joy. 2020 – you weren’t all bad.
It should be no surprise when I say that I’m not a fan of Cancer. Honestly, I’m quite sure that Cancer does not have many fans. I try to think of something positive to say about Cancer and I’m sure if I really wanted to be polite, I might be able to say something, something about awareness or something, but then really right now, I don’t want to be polite. I pretty much dislike cancer with every ounce of my heart right now.
It was two months ago, almost to the day that I got an email while on a shoot that my grandma was heading to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville as she was just diagnosed with acute Leukemia. To say that I was stunned doesn’t really stage the scene properly. I was sitting in the van with three fabulous crew members waiting to start our photoshoot at no other location other than a cemetery, I honestly couldn’t make this up. I sat there speechless, and it was 3 p.m., my most non-speechless time of the day. Those who’ve worked all day with me know that that is usually the time that I get a little silly. I remember one of the crew members saying “Penny”, I responded with “uh, yeah, I’m ok” … I’m sure that they thought I was a little car sick or something. I pressed on with the shoot and thank goodness that the clients were full of giggles and funny because I was able to push aside the nagging at my heart gut wrenching feeling of wanting to just burst out in tears and crawl in bed and pretty much just cry. And that was just my feeling … Imagine what my grandfather must be feeling with the love of his life not too sure what the future holds. Imagine what my young late 60’s grandmother must have been thinking. She told me “I’ve never been really sick a day in my life”. Seriously, my grandma is a poster for good health.
Now, this all sounds grim and honestly the outcome of this post is not a happy one, I’ll forewarn you. However, my Grandma Cele is the most graceful, happy, lovely person you could ever meet. She finds something good in EVERY situation. I’m serious. No lie. In fact, she found the good in a very not good situation. Each time I spoke with her, we laughed, talked about what wonderful nurses she has, how they take such good care of her, how wonderful my grandfather was, even told me he has sexy arms (whoa!) we giggled for some time on that one. We talked about getting older, children and how she was drawing strength from the bible book of Job. Gosh it just brings me to tears to even type that.
Seriously, there is no other person in my life or that I’ve have ever come across that I can say that about. She really saw the good in everything. I know one thing for sure, that she taught me that lesson. Never in my 40 years of life have I ever heard her speak ill of anyone or anything. Never. I can say that about no one else in my life. She is a woman of grace. Someone you just love the moment you meet her.
My grandma Cele is and was the most loving person I’ve ever met. She loved me and always took the time for me. I have memories of us coloring together, going on hikes, sitting outside in the backyard enjoying the evening. Some of the best memories. She taught me that no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, there is good. Even in times of serious not good. This morning when I woke up to find out that she had passed away I sat outside staring at the wind blowing the tree leaves. I felt blank. I felt like I hadn’t ever noticed those leaves before. I could feel the breeze. I felt like I hadn’t really felt the breeze for a while … like I’d just been too busy to feel the breeze. I took Lucy for a walk thinking that maybe I could ground my thoughts and as I was walking her I asked myself what good could I see in this. And is stinks to say that I am thankful that she is not hurting anymore and is at peace. It stinks. It just does to lose someone so great. It sucks that the world lost a woman of true grace. To say that I’m going to miss my grandma Cele is quite the understatement, I wish that each person who happens upon this post could have met her because she would warm your heart and see inside of you something fantastic that maybe you hadn’t seen in yourself. She’d make you feel good.
My family and I are very thankful to the good care that my grandma got from all the wonderful Doctors and Nurses and other staff at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. My grandma spoke very highly of you. You could hear her smile over the phone as she mentioned the good care she was getting. My only wish is that I got to give my grandma just one more hug … perhaps someday I will and I look forward to that day.