What I Learned From My Grandmother

I found this piece in a journal dated September 2013. I dedicate it to my Great Grandmother, the woman who taught me how to fight like a girl. I love you. 


My Great Grandmother, Cancer Survivor
My Great Grandmother, Cancer Survivor

It is my personal philosophy

that the events one experiences in life will determine your reactions

to all things that occur form that moment forward.

Much  like the way a filter can alter an image, experiences can alter a persons reality.

I can remember the day I walked home from school with my sister.

As the oldest, she had designated herself as the wisest;

This day in 1997, she struggled to explain cancer to me,

imagine it.

What could a ten year old girl know about cancer?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 Well she knew less than that, I can assure you.

What my sister did know was that our lives would change.

From that day i became a ‘big girl’ equipped with my own house key.

My great grandmother would not be home until 15 – 30 minutes after my arrival.

  For months (or what felt like months) I walked home, I unlocked the door, I called my mother and soon came my grandmother.

Beautiful, powerful woman,

never did she complain as she battled the tumor that would cause doctors to amputate her left breast.shutterstock_184214636

My grandmother returns home and shows me the scar.

She smiles as I stare confused, not exactly sure what I am expected to understand.

She is home again, and life is the same.

She reads from her bible in the early morning.

She makes me cream of wheat with no sugar and toast without butter

She checks my toothbrush for wetness.

and then she sends me off to school

She supervises my homework

and never lets me leave the table without eating my food

I tell you this, because my grandmother was strong.

At a time where the best of people would break, my grandmother carried on

She smiled and she pressed forward,

and I imagine she learned it from her grandmother

the way I learned it from her.

When a lesser person would have surrendered, she looked at cancer , at death

and she won

with the grace and the class that I can only hope to

establish within my own character someday

Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbons

As i said, certain experiences help to define our perspective on all things to come .

It was the way in which my grandmother fought, that pushes me everyday.

When I want to quit, I think of her, and I dare myself to push harder, to run farther, and to never claim defeat.

2 Comments on “What I Learned From My Grandmother

  1. Sweetheart, what a sad, but beautiful way to share how a 10-year-old perceives Cancer. What you took away from it is simply amazing and positive and wise beyond your years.

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