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.
"...do 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