My mother passed away from the disease that was trying to take Frances. There were so many similiarities between the two of them. When I walked into the room where Frances lay, propped up at an angle by the support of the bed she was on, I was brought back to June of 1998. I was looking at Frances but seeing my mother.
Frances's breath was steady and slow. I talked to her as her "sister from another mother" stroked her hand. I told her about school, how my district hadn't made a decision about what it would look like in the fall, and how I was patiently waiting.
Twenty-two years ago, I had a similar conversation with my mother as she lay in almost the same position, unable to open her eyes, but able to hear my words. I was just finishing up my first year of teaching. She had grown fond of the students in my classroom and got to know them through the stories I told her.
During that first year, I had a second grader named Kamiah. She was tall, kind, and hardworking. She was curious and always proud. I remember her infectious smile and detail to everything in her handwriting, daily work, and art.
My mother took her final breath during the last week of school of my first year of teaching. I never completed the year but somehow everything got done.
Recently, Kamiah crossed my path as Frances fought to survive. And I can't help but think my mother had something to do with it.
Because of the pandemic, Kamiah was laid off from her job in April. Looking for something to fill her new found free time, she started painting. Kamiah has a natural gift. It is evident in her work. She recently started a daily challenge to practice and improve her skills. I knew the moment I saw the painting of Day 1, I had to have it. I reached out to her about purchasing this painting and received it a few days before I went to visit Francis.
This painting means so much more to me than I could have ever imagined. Everytime I look at it, I see a young Frances. Forever loving life and touching those who were lucky enough to have crossed her path.
My dear friend Frances lost her battle this morning with her family by her side. Rest in peace my sweet friend. You will be missed.
To view Kamiah's art, please visit:
meahs_art on instagram
Meah's Art on facebook