Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Is for Mothers: Mary A. Grant (1881 - 1948)

In my biographical stories about Bernice Evangeline Grenfell I've touched on the estrangement between her and her mother.* Yesterday's post featuring the Grenfells on horseback--with Mary Grant Grenfell riding sidesaddle--reminded me that there's more about her to be shared.

[Mary A. Grant and William R. Grenfell, undated photo from my personal collection]

Among Mother's papers I found a letter from the father written two days before Mary's death from breast cancer which enclosed an obituary from the local paper.

[From my personal collection]

                                           Whitewood, So. Dak.
                                                       Jan. 15 - 1948
Dear Bernice and family: _ I rec'd your very
nice letter, and I guess it is just as well
you do not come, as it has turned cold to-day
and the weather man says a cold wave is
in prospect. Well, Mamma is still at
the hospital and has been in an ha oxygen
tent for a week. They have sent for
me twice, but she rallied each time.
It would be a blessing for her if she
would pass on and get out of her misery.
I don't understand why we have to
undergo so much pain but I guess
it is God's way of doing things. Well, all
is well between her and me. I freely
forgive and wrong she may have done
to me, said or anything she may have
aid, and will do my utmost to forget
any unpleasant incidents in our
married life and I believe that is
what the Saviour taught, to be kind,
forgiving and forbearing towards one
another. I bear no hard feelings
or ill will against her, for after all
she was my partner in life for
nearly half a century. Now, we must
part and I will be alone. I will never
be the same, and I fear it will be hard
for me to adjust myself to the new 
conditions. This little incident has
surely taken the money. It cost me
$2900 before I took her to Belle Fourche and
now it is costing me $35 per day, you
see, the oxygen costs me $1 per hour, and
she is getting it 24 hours per day.
Well, I am going to Deadwood in a
few minutes to meet Richard. I am
sure glad he is coming for he will
be a great comfort to me. I will let
you know by air mail if anything
happens. Good bye and God Bless you.
P.S. Was so sorry to hear about Junior. He was a
nice little boy when I saw him and
it surely was a great loss to us all I
know you feel the loss only as a parents
can. I do hope that Patricia will at least
partly fill the gap made by the loss.

From the letter it's clear that he was responding to a message from his daughter giving an excuse** for not returning to South Dakota to attend the death bed of a mother whose continuous mistreatment of her had been evident to the local doctor. It's also obvious that this is the first communication he's had with his daughter since long before her only child was killed in the final months of World War II.

[From my personal collection]

*Which you can read about in the footnotes to posts here and here.
**It sounds as if the reason may have been that she didn't want to leave me--I was about 8 months old at the time.

© 2017 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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