CANCER TALES Rhonda Abair: I miss my mother, grandmother


The author’s grandmother, Ida Felton

The author’s grandmother, Ida Felton

My faith has helped sustain me through the death of my dear grandmother and my mother to cancer.

My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 1990. I adored her. She had raised me as her own because my mother gave birth to me at a very young age.

My grandmother was dirt poor, but she gave me everything that I needed. She taught me good manners and values and how to live without being extravagant and have everything that you need.

Her lung cancer was a shock to the family because she never smoked. She was a health fanatic. We had fresh veggies everyday.

When I was very young I used to pray and ask God to take me first because I knew that I couldn’t live without my grandmother. We buried her on July 1, 1991, two days before my birthday. Part of me went with her.

I have really been trying ever since to live right, obey God’s laws and treat people as I want to be treated.

My mother died from ovarian cancer in November 2002. I was never very close to her, but by the time she got sick I had read the Bible enough to know what to do.

The author, who lives in Atlanta, and her husband, Bruce

The author, who lives in Atlanta, and her husband, Bruce

I believe we can only pray that it is God’s will that our relatives live long lives, but if it is not his will, then we should pray that he strengthens us to accept his will. I left my job to take care of her.

The author’s mother, Evelyn Molde

The author’s mother, Evelyn Molde

I was at the hospital seven days a week from Oct. 30 until Nov. 26, when she died. It got to the point that I could only hold her hand and read the scriptures to her. I also kept a Bible open in her room.

She could no longer speak, because she was on a respirator. She would hold her head a certain way and smile sometimes while I was reading. I know that she had a lot to say, but she said it when she would rub my hand.

This was as close as we had ever been. I learned a lot while in the hospital watching my mother deteriorate. When she could talk, she explained why her life had been so hard.

She even mentioned some things about my father, whom she never really spoke about. I would like to think that one day, according to God’s promise, that I will see my grandmother and my mother again at the resurrection.

I can only hope that we are all standing on the same side.

  • Cancer touches us all. Nearly everyone living in metro Atlanta knows of someone living with cancer or dying from it. Email us your story: JKJOHNSTON@AJC.COM

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