My granny, Florence Alice Marie Ellis, is the strongest woman I know. She raised my dad up to be a good hard working man, she drove my mom the right amount of crazy when she married my dad, and she played a major role in raising me with good values and just the right amount of tenderness and toughness. She is the kindest lady I know and will help you with anything if you need only ask. Last week I was home for a day and I went down to her house to visit her (her house is in the same farmyard as my parents is) and she handed me a box in which contained a set of pearl earrings and necklace. “Just because I was thinking of you and thought you’d like them,” was all the explanation she offered because thats the kind of lady she is. She would give you the world if she could get it and she thought you deserved it.
Three years ago we received the news that Granny had breast cancer. It was caught fairly early in her left breast and had not yet spread to the right. We got lucky and she had an amazing doctor in Drumheller, Alta. who had her scheduled to go under the knife in just under two months. The day Granny told me she had breast cancer I was sitting having coffee with her and she just blurted it out. She looked me dead in the eye and I felt the blood rush from my face. “Well it’s a good thing you’re tough and will show it who’s boss,” was all I could offer before we both started laughing. Even though I was old enough to understand what was going on, I didn’t fully comprehend it, and for my ignorance I am thankful. The whole time she was sick I didn’t doubt her for one minute that she was going to be alright. Because my Granny is a hard ass.
We made jokes until after the surgery when I saw her reach for a coffee cup, on the first shelf, and she couldn’t move her arm high enough to get it. Then it hit me. Even the strongest people we know can be wounded. I worried non-stop until the call came that assured us that all of the cancer was removed and that a second surgery was not needed. My Granny told none of her friends what was going on until a few days before the surgery, she was never one to offer her problems out to others. They were supportive until about a week after her surgery when she went into coffee, and one lady looked at her in shock, “How can you bear to go out in public looking like you do with only one breast!” My Granny, the strongest woman I know, who felt wounded far beyond what breast cancer had done to her, used every ounce of courage left to reply calmly. “I don’t know why this should bother me or why it should bother you. I’m the same person I was before and that’s good enough for me.”
Three years later my Granny, Marie Ellis, still stands strong and remains breast cancer free. She is my hero and I love her so very much.
Thank you for taking the time to read her story and to view my portraits.
I used my Canon 7D camera with a 16-35mm lens. A Canon 430 EX flash, an Metz AF 50-1 flash and pocket wizards to control them.