Remembering My Son’s Grandmother Carol
Three Years ago today, my son’s grandmother slipped into spirit world after a long battle with breast cancer. I never knew Carol. She became what the Universe is made of before her son and I met, before her grandson was born. I have heard hundreds of stories from my beloved Alok about Grandma Carol…
‘A Beautiful Body’ Exploring Vulnerability As A Collective Continues: October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
She was witty. She was stylish. She was disarmingly charming and naturally positive. She was wise. She was authentic and beautiful. She died in the arms of her son, my son’s father. My beloved Alok and I like to talk about how Alok has held in his own hands a human who has passed into Spirit World and a human arriving From Spirit World into our Human Tribe, as he was my birth partner and cut the cord or our son nearly 8 months ago.
I wish Grandma Carol was here today. I wish I could have photographed her, heard her stories of her living with cancer. I would ask her why she choose to study India’s History and I would ask her if she would like a massage or if she would like to go for some gelatto. I would watch her with love in my tear-filled eyes as she held my son and her grandson, Sequoia. I would tell her she is so damn beautiful.
They say October is breast cancer awareness month. Grandma Carol passed in October from breast cancer. I recently photographed a Powerful and Brave Goddess for my project A Beautiful Body who was diagnosed with breast cancer after the birth of her son. This is what she wrote to me before we set up the shoot which gave me chills all over my body:
“My son (now 5) was close to 10 pounds when he was (finally!) born. I was 5’3 and skinny (up until my pregnancy). After he was born, I was very, very depressed, in spite of myself, about my “ruined” stomach. I wanted to love it, knew that I should, but I just didn’t recognize it as mine. 5 years after his birth, this past spring, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I was blessed with a visionary, organic surgeon — (who knew that there was such a thing as an organic surgeon?) –who refilled the tissue he removed from my breast with that very same “extra” post-pregnancy abdominal tissue that I’d been cursing. it wound up not only giving birth to my son, but also restoring the rest of me as well.
My stomach now (since that cancer surgery) doesn’t look like its postpartum self. It is still swollen from this last operation )not from pregnancy), and it has a healing wide scar across it, no longer just the product of living and giving birth but obviously the product of big changes since then. I no longer curse anything about my stomach, and am now very grateful for that giant scar and really for all of my scars. I used to make films and take photos, and was very interested in themes similar to ‘Beautiful Body’. Good luck to you and thanks for being so brave”.
Thank YOU, G, for being so damn BEAUTIFUL and so exquisitely brave. You are my medicine. You connect me to my son’s grandmother’s life that I never had the pleasure of knowing. You are my definition of beautiful.
-Jade Beall is founder of A Beautiful Body Project, a mother, photographer of women in her Tucson studio and around the world.