Dear Family and Friends,
Let me tell you about Betty Jean Smith. (see pictures here)
“This is my lasssssttt Thanksgiving,” my Grandma boldly declared a couple of weeks ago. The thing is, she may be right. She was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that metastasized to her brain.
“I’m going to outlive all of you,” my grandma boldly declared a couple of weeks ago. The thing is, she may be right. She was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that metastasized to her brain… and she really hasn’t slowed down (relatively speaking).
(If you would like to learn a little bit more about the life and times of Betty J. Smith, you can read this beautiful article about her here: https://mayramacedonolan.com/2017/11/13/why-i-
I was telling my friend, Jhia, this is the best case scenario for letting my grandma transition from this life to the next. She isn’t scared. When we broke the news to her (we did this about 5 million times because her short term memory was faulty after her seizure) she always responded the same, “Oh, don’t worry about me. I’m o.k. I’m going to be with my mother.” She was o.k. with the decision to not treat the cancer. She is slowly accepting that she won’t be able to live on her own.
Maybe it was her last Thanksgiving, or maybe she will outlive us all. Truth is, we never really know how families and extended friendship circles will change from year to year. Now that Thanksgiving (or, awareness of indigenous and turkey mass genocide day) is over, and you had your fill of food that only comes out on Christmas and Thanksgiving, what and who are you still actively thankful for?
I was going to write more about my grandma, but it feels too soon.
Before my grandma got sick I was going to write about my roommate, Faith. If you like me, you would probably like her 10x better. I didn’t write that to put myself down. I consider it a blessing to have someone in my life that I admire so much…. And that will put up with my passive- aggressive living behaviors. Really, truly, and honestly, how many people do we know who make us a better person just by being in our lives?
We ended up as roommates because at the same time I was getting kicked out of my other apartment she was moving up north to start the same nursing program I was accepted into. I can write a million things about her, but there are 3 things that really stand out over the last 4 years living with her.
She broke her leg on Valentine’s Day. That set off a series of events that dramatically changed the outcome of when she would finish school. If it were me, I would have cried and been miserable all day everyday for the last 3 years. I still would have been bitter- just to be bitter- to this day. Faith isn’t like me. She made the most of the situation and set herself up for better things. I witnessed her deal with several setbacks and she push through them all. I’ve learned so much by watching how she deals with the ups, downs, and unexpected plot twists with so much grace and faith.
She gives really good advice. Like, she should get paid for fixing people’s lives in one or two conversations. I’ve gotten good advice from her even when she wasn’t talking to me. I sometimes overhear her phone conversations of her fixing people’s lives without them realizing she is fixing their life. I find it amazing that people still know how to talk on the phone. (A phone conversation with me sounds like uh-huh…uh-huh… yeah… uh-huh…uh-huh…
yeah… it was nice talking to you… bye). There was also a short period of time where someone moved into the apartment temporarily to cover Faith’s rent as she figured out what to do with her life when she took a year off of school. I was ready to kick the temporary roommate out of the apartment. Faith talked some sense into me and helped me see the situation from a different perspective. One of the things I admire about Faith is that she consistently gives
good advice and she lives a life, rooted in her faith in Christ, that backs it up.
I can’t tell you what her Kenyan name is (I think the phonetic pronunciation is Ooo-keta). Ok., I lied. I really truly don’t know. I should know, but if she reads this she will text me the answer and I can save it in my contact list. But I do know the meaning of her name: One who is hospitable. She told me that each child, depending on gender and birth order, is named after a quality of a grandparent. I never met her grandmother, but Faith truly embodies ‘one who
is hospitable’. Not just ‘welcome to my home’ hospitable, but ‘welcome to my life’ hospitable.
I feel like there is a lot more I can say, but the letter is getting long. Plus, I’m writing this from the library computer and I don’t want to start boo-hooing like a baby.
I’m curious. Who in your life are you grateful for and why? And then tell them! I look forward to hearing from you.