Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mourning my great grandmother

My paternal great grandmother, Mary Clay Button, was 80 years old when she made transition.  Growing up and  for the longest time into my adulthood, I just thought of her dying as a result of just being old.  While I have had her death certificate for a little over a year and poured over every line, I never had her cause of death deciphered.  This weekend I had that opportunity when the Buffalo Genealogical Society of the African Diaspora had a workshop on Causes of Death from Death Certificates.  When I presented my great grandmother's death certificate, I was told that she died from breast cancer that had spread throughout her body.  For some reason, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I went into mourning.

The local African American newspaper, the Buffalo Criterion, had an article on her passing with the the first paragraph stating that she was ill for a year.  --  but no mention of cancer.  No one in the family ever mentioned cancer when they spoke of her.  But that's how it was at that time  --  cancer was almost thought of as a plague and not spoken of.  Her transition year was 1955, two years after I was born so I didn't get to know her but I've been told that she loved me.  She would bounce me on her knees and had a chant, "Jump, jump, jump, jump, jump.  You ain't jumped none today."

I jump in your honor & smile.

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