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The Strongest Woman I know.

My Grandma Park has cancer.
But really, that shouldn't be news.

My Grandma has had cancer often and faced it head on each and every time.  I likely will get these stats wrong, but she had uterine cancer some 30 years ago, then it was breast cancer 3 years ago, which I blogged about. And then last year it was lung cancer.  Each and every time she has done her chemo and got on with her life.
This time she is too weak to do the treatments (although she did do one chemo session because she's tough like that), and the doctors are afraid there will only be 3-6 months.
I don't like typing that.  And when I do I feel kinda ridiculous; we are all terminal, aren't we?  Isn't that the one bond we share as humans? Our immortality?
It's just so sad to face it head on.

However, I don't doubt, not even for a second, that my Grams won't give this a fight and won't continue to be a light in our lives.  She's just like that. She even managed to go to Bingo with her girlfriends while dealing with chemo.
You see, Grams has always been present in our life.  If you are to look at any of our family gathering pictures, she's always there, sometimes in the background, sometimes right in the front with a big smile and a bunch of kids piled on her.   Like that time Willis stayed up until  1 am on New Years Eve and Dan restocked the entire bar for the event.  or the time she dressed as a flying monkey for Lucia's bday party.
My kids know who Great Grams is, they love spending time with her and that is a gift that I will treasure forever, because not only has she had a huge affect on my life, but she has also touched the lives of my kids.  That's so important to me.
We took a day off of life last week and skipped out of school/work/responsibilities to visit with Grams while she's staying with Mom and Dad, because there are just some things that you can't learn in school.

Despite being sick, Grams still is chatty and full of stories and was able to get Willis to get her onto a higher level of Candy Crush.  And I spent some time fixing her up on her new iPad so that she can still play her games.

Our Grams has taught us so much over the years, but they weren't necessarily direct lessons.  It was more how she lived her life that gave us so much guidance.  She has been independent and in her home since Grandpa passed away in 2001.  She taught us the importance of quality family time, like the "put your phone away, look me in the face and spend some time with me" quality time.  Likely during which we'd play countless games of cards and Scrabble.  Or watch the Jays.
I'm glad that I had a chance to sit down with her 2011 and record some of her memories for our Mommy Diaries, she has so many great stories.

Grams has created a wonderful legacy for us and it is made up of the most meaningful things for me: family and lots and lots of love.

But the most crucial lesson is by far the one that she is still modeling today: life is for living.

Because she is the strongest woman I know.


  1. A wonderful tribute to your grams.

  2. I'm so sorry Deena... this is beautiful though, I hope you'll share with her.

  3. Awe Deena that was beautiful. Since I've joined the Park family Great Grams has been like a grandmother to me to and I am so thankful to get to spend as much time with as we can even though we don't live close. She truly is one of the strongest women I know. Thanks for sharing. Hugs from us to you during the difficult time

  4. She seems like a wonderful lady and while it's hard to know she has x amount of time, I'm glad you guys are making the most of it, and thinking of the positive impact she has with your family. Thanks for sharing.

  5. So, so beautiful Deena, and I'm so sorry. Your grams sounds amazing, and though I've only known you a short time, I can tell that she's obviously passed her traits on to you. We all should strive to be more like her. I'll keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. I love this post. Beautifully written.

    "There are some things that you just can't learn at school" - and it feels like, often times, they are the really big things. I know you will agree with me when I say that time with those we love is more important than anything. What a great lesson for you to give your kids.

  7. Brent/Joni Ingram17 November, 2014 14:22

    Such a great tribute Deena! I know what a fighter she is and that her positive attitude towards all that she has faced has been an inspiration to our family and myself. I fondly remember Saturday nights as a child visiting "aunt" Betty and what fun it was to be around her. She is a fighter and will never give up and I know that I have learned to be a better person by following her example towards family and life. She holds a special place in all of our family's hearts

    1. Thanks you, guys. And thanks for sharing your memories, that made me smile.

  8. So sorry that your family has to deal with having a loved one facing cancer. I lost my mother to gastrointestinal cancer and at the time, the only thing she could do was try to stay as comfortable as possible...a challenge in and of itself. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Deena I am so bad at not taking the time to stay on top of reading your blogs. Today your mom phoned with the most current update. A pillar of strength Betty is, we can all learn from her. "Live like we are dieing" and we shouldn't miss out on anything. xoxoxoxox


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