My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. — Hosea 4:6
This article is from a seven-part series written by me in 2003. Since its publication, the series has made its way around the world. It is posted in Africa, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Europe and Asia; it is translated into different languages, and it appears all across America.
It is the story of the life and suffering of my mother, told in order to help somebody, so her living would not be in vain. This week, the Lord told me to share this article with my readers again.
Those of you who have read this column faithfully know of the devastation faced by me and my family as my mother suffered for 12 years with diabetes and all of the other implications it brings to the human body. My campaign for diabetes prevention and education, established under the name Fannie Estelle Hill Grant, started after the loss of my mother, who succumbed to Type 2 diabetes on Christmas Day in 2000.
I noticed a fire burning in the diabetes health arena, in the African-American community in particular, and it is still burning out of control. Hopefully, this campaign will help put out the fire.
Mother was a 73-year-old wife and mother of nine, a homemaker who loved her family very much and believed in preparing wonderful home-cooked meals for the family. She enjoyed cooking, cleaning and washing clothes, and although she raised nine children of her own, she always had room for other needy children.
In our early years during the 1960s, Mother was the wife of our sharecropper father in North Carolina, but they moved the family to Washington, D.C., in 1965, and for more than 30 years, the Washington metropolitan area was home.
The family learned of Mother’s Type 2 diabetes after a major stroke she had in 1989. She lived only 12 years after the diagnosis. I and my sisters pledged to begin the educational prevention campaign while we visited with and cared for our mother during her last year of life.
Mother and father moved back to North Carolina, where she enjoyed her later years in a very peaceful way. We purchased her a new home, took over the mortgage payments, and she was happy. Mother Grant enjoyed living on the 226-acre farm near Kinston, which had been in the family for generations. She enjoyed walking around the farm, following my father as he worked.
Mother suffered many additional strokes. During one of them, she lost the use of her tongue and couldn’t speak. Her kidneys failed, requiring dialysis for the last two years of her life. She had high blood pressure for many years, and both of her legs were amputated above her knees.
We wanted to know more about the disease that took our mother in such a brutal fashion. There was so much pain and suffering prior to her death. Mother Grant was a Christian, an evangelist who preached the gospel in churches throughout the D.C. area, and everyone loved her and called her Ma.
As her oldest daughter, I promised to educate millions of people regarding the causes and preventions of Type 2 diabetes. By sharing with the general public, I feel a lot better now, because my mother’s living shall not be in vain.
Come back next week for the next part of this series on diabetes — a topic I plan to cover for all of November, which is recognized as National Diabetes Month.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.