Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Strong Heart

Frances Agnes Elizabeth Peters : 1927-2008

She was born in a small coal mining town near Pittsburgh. She was born one month late, and with a tooth already in her mouth. When she was seven, her father left the family for another woman, something unheard of in 1934. That was when she came down with severe asthma, which doctors didn't know much about back then. She spent the next several years in hospitals inside oxygen tents, or at home in bed, being made to drink hot tea and toast, at times barely catching her breath, unable to lay flat and still inhale. She had to drop out of elementary school, and was never to return. When she was a teenager, a doctor informed her mother that if she were to survive, they must move away from the dirty coal town to somewhere with cleaner air. They knew some people in Washington, D.C., so moved there. The asthma began to get better. With two women alone in a big city, she had to lie about her age to get a work permit at age 16, and never stopped working after that. From about the age of 45 till she retired at 65, she worked two full time jobs, 16 hours a day, with never a day off. She received many awards, all with no education. At about age 60, she was mugged on a city street. She would not let go of her purse, and was dragged screaming. She was a fighter. She was tough as nails and soft as butter. At age 65, she retired and moved here to Virginia to be with us, but kept on working part time. She adored work and it gave her her identity. She got bladder cancer and had two major surgeries. Went back to work. Then got lung cancer and had part of a lung removed. Finally the cancer spread. The tumors blocked her stomach so nothing would stay down. The hospital fed her thru I.V., but then withdrew it. We said our good-byes and they put her in a deep sleep, and removed all fluids. She would starve to death. Usually in that state, a person lasts maybe a week. She lasted almost two weeks. She was a fighter. I watched as her nightgown went up and down from the beat of her strong heart. I watched. It was un unspeakable time, so why do I speak of it now and sadden your day? Because it is Mother's Day and I must. I want others to know her. Will this help lessen my pain? Probably not. But now her story is here, and it seems right.

" not forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you." Proverbs 6:20,22


Kilauea Poetry said...

This was so touching Ginny..had a feeling this was your Mother. I'm really impressed! Amazing powerful, yet uplifting story. I can't imagine those years..almost seems like it would be the hardest? I know you didn't mention what type of work but you don't have to either..she worked hard! Two jobs at that..I honestly think some people are stronger and it appears she was one of them! Bladder cancer must of been painful as heck?! Thanks for sharing this meaningful piece of your heart! Those pictures are priceless.
On a lighter note..I had to chuckle when I read your comment..thanks and hope you have a wonderful day tomarrow!

Stephanie V said...

What a moving tribute to your mother. And I knew she look like her. I think women have always had to be strong to stand up under the heavy weight of responsibility and survival.
Happy Mother's Day to you.

Stacey Dawn said...

What an amazing woman! I hear so much of her in you. Blessings to you and may your day be filled with wonderful memories of her.

DawnTreader said...

It's a lovely series of pictures - and a tough set of memories...

It's hard to understand sometimes, the fight the heart can still put up at the very end of a life.

My mother died last May, her death was a sudden one (stroke). She had not been well over the past few months but was not bed-ridden.

We celebrate Mother's Day on a different day here, in three weeks time: the last Sunday in May.

hip chick said...

What an amazing woman your mother was. She did another amazing thing as well...she raised you. And, you spread so much of the love of God to others that your mothers story (and your grandmothers as well, who must have been a strong beautiful woman to have raised your mother alone) lives on. God knows exactly what He is doing.

From the Kitchen said...

Ginny: Thank you for sharing your mother today. How fortunate you are to have had this strong and amazing woman as your mother. The photographs are wonderful! From that smiling baby to the smiling woman, one can see her strength and determination.

I hope you have a wonderful day with your family and with your precious memories.


Sandra said...

your story is so touching, thanks for the telling of it. you will NOT be surprised when you see my post today, sister. I did not think of telling mothers story. great post, great idea. have a wonderful mothers day

Bird Girl said...

She just looks like a neat person - her face is brimming with personality in each picture! I love the picture with her arms crossed - it says a lot about her confidence in a tough 'ole world. And the sassy shot of her in the next picture is just the best! I don't know either of you but I see your mother in your blog posts - I can feel that confidence and adventurous spirit - it comes through! You certainly got the BEST from an amazing woman who conquered difficulties - and always 'shined'!
Have a wonderful day and sweet memories of a mom who always came out smiling on the other side of gloom!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Good Morning, Ginny...Happy Mother's Day!!!! I loved reading the story about your mother. Aren't you lucky to have someone so strong in your life?

We're home from the beach --and I'll post in the morning. Had a wonderful time --but it's nice to be home.

One of my sons is visiting me on my 'special' day today!!!!!

Hope you have a wonderful day.

Lucy said...

I love that post. Family history. You can't beat it. I should have done something like that but .... oh well. Next year is coming. Have a wonderful day!

Our Journey said...

Just brought me to tears. I knew all of these stories (well most) but I just loved Nana & love reading about them again! And it was good to think of her today!! Proud of you for being strong & thoughtful enough to post a beautiful post about her today.