Brenda Beaton and Durk Smid, my brother, are married and live in Williams Lake. For both of them it is their second marriage, as their first partners have passed. They communicate mostly by written words as Brenda has a rare form of Alzheimer, which make it very difficult for her to speak and her hearing has equally deteriorated. They are deeply in love with each other and face not only their hardships together but with optimism and faith in God.
Brenda, whose mind is not affected, has written some moving stories about her eventful life, in which she for forty years took care of two severely mentally handicapped sons as well. She was kind enough to let me read some of her stories in which she writes about her hardships and her victories. Her stories, coming right from her heart have moved me deeply. I wanted to share them with you. Here is the first one. (Lex)
The Strength of a Woman by Brenda Beaton Smid
AS I GAZED THROUGH THE WINDOW of the jewelry store, my eyes settled on the little vase in front of the display. With its gold trim on top and shades of teal, royal and navy blues, and gold in the pattern, it was beautiful. Strong and delicate all at the same time. It instantly reminded me of my Grandmother.
Elizabeth Matlock died several years ago. Named for me, I had, from my earliest memory a special love for the woman. Grandma had the soft, warm arms and bosom that I curled up into many times over the years.
I remember asking my Mom that I want to write a letter to Grandma. I was four years old, my letter was contained with E's and O's. A few weeks later I received my first letter from Grandma!
When I was nine, I was lucky to go to Grandmas'. I stayed for a week, just her and Grandpa.
No two brothers, or my other three sisters, just me.
We played scrabble.
Grandma had been crippled with a very rare disease in the late forties after her last child was born.
The doctors didn't know much about this disease called Myasthenia Gravis. My Grandma was the only one in Western Canada. Her leg muscles were very weak, voice was gravelly and with drooping eyelids. She was the doctors guinea pig,many times she felt worse, with hives all over her body.
Elizabeth was bedridden many times. My Grandpa took over the jobs from her. After of many years and much experimenting and new medicines, Elizabeth was able to stand and walk, using a cane.
I remember how Grandmas' steps were taken so tenderly, slowly, and with thought behind each one. Though Elizabeth looked delicate, she had a very strong will. I loved to listen to Grandmas' weak voice because there was always something to learn,and I didn't want to miss anything that Grandma had to say.
Years later, my Grandma had to be strong again when she she learned she had breast cancer in 1970. She did what she had to do. She passed away peacefully, in 1997.
I took my eyes away from the vase and smiled softly, then continued on my way.
By: Brenda Beaton Smid