My grandma was a woman of faith. Nothing was done without praying to God before and after. Whatever it was, God always had some involvement in it.
Quite honestly, it annoyed the hell out of me. Always so positive, so trusting, so open to whatever “God” wanted, but why? Why so much trust? Why so much confidence? So, I asked her.
My grandmother was raised in a household where women were looked down upon. She wasn’t allowed to study, wasn’t allowed to leave home or do anything independently. She did it anyways. My grandmother was always told she wouldn’t be smart enough to find a job, or raise a family, or be successful. She married, had 5 kids, and became the school principal in her town. She had that kinda swag.
My grandmother married a man who became unfaithful, leaving behind 5 kids to raise, and the responsibility of a single parent. She did it too. She raised all 5 of them, all with their own families, but most importantly, she taught them to be men and women of faith. Here’s the kicker, her husband came back after a number of years and he was really sick, basically dying. She let him stay in her home and took care of him until he passed.
I think I was like 9 when she was telling me all of this. At the time, I was like uh, cool? I think I was more worried about when the next time she was going to make me food.
I never really understood how much faith she actually had until she was diagnosed with cancer. Not once did I ever hear her complain. She was diagnosed with aggressive liver cancer, which spread everywhere. Chemo, radiation, medication which made her sick, all of it. Not one word of complaint.
One of the most powerful conversations I’ve ever had with her was about why she was the way she was. I told her it was okay for her to be upset, it was okay to be angry. She looked at me like I was dumb, and reminded me of a prayer that she prayed, which translates to this:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
She prayed this every night before going to bed. A small reminder that her current situation was nothing compared to the joy that was coming. She wanted to show everyone that no matter how big the struggle, she was going to smile.
My grandmother was given 12 months to live. She always said when God says it’s time to go home, she will go home. She fought for 15 months.
Stuart Scott, ESPN Analyst, and also one who is fighting cancer himself, said the following:
“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.”
My grandmother decided to live a life of faith. No matter how bad, she never allowed her fear to be bigger than her faith.