Friday, October 2, 2009

Maggie

In honor of both Janell's (POD) and Lance Armstrong's Cancerversary today, I'm writing about how cancer has affected my life.

This is a picture of my Grandmother, Maggie. As a little girl, whenever I visited her she let me play dress up with her clothes, jewelry and makeup - she would even help me put on her false eyelashes! A few years ago she gave me all of the jewelry that I played with as a child, and I love wearing several of the necklaces (although not all at once, like I used to) with my outfits to this day.

She lived in southern California when I was a child and would visit us in northern California quite often. She loved scotch and sodas and had a seltzer bottle, complete with the cartridges, that I was fascinated with. Every afternoon, she'd make her drink and make me one, too - using Nestea powdered iced tea mix in place of the scotch. However, she'd always let me have a taste of her drink - and yes, at that young age, I thought her drink tasted better! Some people have a perfume that reminds them of their Grandmother but for me, it's scotch - to this day, while I don't drink anymore, I love that smell.

As an adult, every once in a while I'd take a break from being a mom and go visit my grandmother for the chance to just be a granddaughter once again. She would spoil me - we'd go out for fantastic meals, shop, shop and shop, and then I'd help re-arrange her furniture. I remember her saying "why not?!" quite often - and bam, off we'd go, ordering dessert, or buying an outfit - life was to be enjoyed, and she certainly did just that.

Grandmother had a sense of adventure - she loved to travel and went all over - with her friend Pearl, they island hopped in small planes all over the Caribbean in 1956, and later went to Europe that same year. She's been to Mexico, Hawaii, Egypt, China, Tibet and Bali, back to Italy, France and England several times, and of course visited all over the U.S.

She was into aerobics - the real deal, not the "sit and be fit" kind, yoga, and while she tried Curves when it first came out, she found it "too easy." She delivered Meals On Wheels for decades (it was funny to hear her refer to delivering food to "old people" who were actually younger than her) and in her later years, she got back into painting watercolors - she had been an art major in college. She left us with some absolutely gorgeous pictures.

In August 2006, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We held a celebration of her life on October 8, 2006, which she attended with great glee, greeting and hugging the many friends and relatives who attended. She died 12 days later. We all believe that had it not been for cancer, she would still be with us today - my Grandmother had more energy than people half her age, including me, and was the picture of health. So this is how cancer has affected my life - it took a very special person away from me. And I miss her.

One last picture, taken at a Christmas dinner - she was the life of the party!

28 comments:

  1. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful Grandmother.

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  2. She was certainly a beautiful woman with a beautiful life.

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  3. Shelley, what a loving tribute to a firecracker of a woman. What a great role model. I want to be your grandma Maggie. Thank you for sharing her story with us. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  4. Maggie--what a dynamic, powerful spirit! She is the poster diva for Ideal Living.

    And to know her and love her...no wonder your such a badass with your fitness.

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  5. I love this tribute to your grandmother. What great times you must have had with her! I lost my Mom to lung cancer in 1991.

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  6. God I would've loved to known your grandma!!! What a wonderful tribute!!!! Might I add that it's quite apparent that much of her "coolness" has rubbed off on you; the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. :)

    :: major hugs ::

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  7. What a great life, and what a delightful woman.

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  8. What a remarkable woman and lovely tribute.

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  9. Your grandmother was a very special lady and you've written a beautiful post in her rememberance.

    I'm touched by your post today because before I even start reading it and saw the logo for live strong I knew what your post was going te be about and immediately I thought of my dad whom I lost also to cancer over 9 years ago now.

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  10. What a great post and a great way to honor her memory on this day. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. What a lovely memory. I love that you had a Celebration of Life party.

    She looked like she was indeed the live of the party.

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  12. She was lovely! This was a wonderful tribute to your Grandmother.

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  13. Shelley what a wonderful post! Women like her make me not afraid to get older. Thanks for sharing her amazing life with us and what a great granddaughter you are!! Have a great weekend!

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  14. Well as you know from reading my blog, my mother is going through her second bout of cancer. Ten years ago in her 50's, it was breast cancer and she survived. Right now it's uterine cancer, but once again her doctors said they "got it all" and she will be fine. It's awful to lose a loved one to cancer (my grandfather), and to hear "the news" is always a shock. But it makes me feel so hopeful to know that my mother, who is just a simple woman and not a health nut, was able to meet this disease head on and BEAT IT'S BUTT!!!!

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  15. Your grandmother seems like she was an awesome lady!

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  16. What a great post about your grandmother. The smell of scotch cracked me up. I'm sad that she died, sad for you and your family though at least you can remember her with such a sweet (and well written) tribute. Thanks for helping me/us honor the day with this post. It's beautiful and exactly what I was thinking when I first thought about trying this out. Next year we're going to go bigger. Save this post!
    Much, much appreciation for all your efforts and your comments.

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  17. Aww, sweet post and great memories. How old was she when she passed? She is a very attractive woman! How wonderful that you have such great memories. She sounds like quite a character. My own Gma passed last year, Oct 6 @ age 97, and she was a hoot. Fond memories, right?

    Yesterday marked my mom being gone for 15 yrs...she died of cancer at age 55. She was my very dear friend.

    I love that Maggie got to say goodbye to everyone. Remind me, had you started your journey at that point? Did she get to know about that? She was probably a great cheerleader for you! Thanks so much for sharing this. Hugs, ChrissyS

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  18. This was just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing the memories of your grandmother. She sounds like she was very special.

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  19. So sorry to hear you lost such a vibrant, loving, important person in your life to such a horrific disease. I lose my grandmother to Alzheimer's this past May. I miss her, too.

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  20. LOVED reading this post Shelley! Everyone should be so lucky to have a grandma like that!

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  21. {{shelley}} What a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL post and what a lovely grandmother. I'm so sorry she's gone. She is the kind of person I aspire to be. Sending you my warmest thoughts, my friend.

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  22. Beautiful pictures! I had to smile at that last one especially :)

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  23. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your grandma sounds like she was a fantastic person! thank you for sharing her with us.

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  24. (((Hugs))) Your grandma sounds like she was a one of a kind!!!! What a wonderful influence she must have been in your life!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories with us!! :)

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  25. Shelley, what a wonderful post/tribute. What a wonderful woman! I love her spirit!!! Love her legs--wow! Curves, too easy--that just makes me smile!

    Thank you for sharing.

    People live on in our memories, and when we share them, sometimes others who never knew the person can learn from them. I think I'll take the "why not" with me. =)

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  26. What a beautiful, touching and inspiring post! Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful person.

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