Today’s blog is about someone who showed me what courage and willpower were all about – Elsie Weston (top picture with Belinda). Elsie was my mom’s youngest sister – the baby of the family until I came around when she was about 9 years old. I know that during her high school years, she dreaded having drag me with her but as we both grew up, our relationship changed. When I was in high school, she shared some of my deepest secrets. As we traveled to Atlantic City for new jobs – we were each others support systems. When I had Belinda – she became Belinda’s buddy. To most, Elsie was shy, quiet and very seldom stepped out of her comfort zone… sound like anyone you know?
When Elsie had her first mastectomy, she showed what a fighter she really was. She went back to work and worked through the side effects of the medications never wanting to be pampered. During that time, she also helped me through my addiction. She showed me that if I really wanted something – I had to fight to overcome the naysayers, the Negative Nellie and the Tempting Thomas. She didn’t judge me for my mistakes, she showed me how to use them to help others. I am sure she never really knew the impact she had on me during that time. She even helped me to manage my money in the early years of my recovery because I could have quickly slipped into a shopping addiction
After her second mastectomy, she struggled with fear and stepping out of her comfort zone. Elsie had always dreamed of having her own business and it was after the second surgery that she took that leap of faith. She moved back to Ocean Grove and opened Small Wonders – a gift boutique. She really wanted to own a bed and breakfast and she hoped that Small Wonders would be a stepping stone to that dream. DREAM BIG and she did. As the cancer caused her to loose the majority of her sight, she continued to go to work each day. She knew the layout of the store, she had helpers who stopped in and she continued to work as if nothing was wrong. Those closest to her saw the changes but as long as she wanted to fight – we were there to support her. Then on Memorial Day weekend of 1999, Elsie gave up her will to fight. She had just returned from a trip with friends and told us that this was the end. Not something we wanted to hear but we knew she had fought long and hard.
I have so many memories but her strength, her fight and her commitment to her family and her dreams are what help me to keep going when my faith starts to waiver. I DREAM BIG and hold fast for I know that in God’s time, my Weston angels will help me to reach my dreams and my goals. I am stepping out of my comfort zone and I know that she is right behind cheering me on.
Happy Birthday, Elsie. I miss you and I know that even though you don’t like parties – there is one going on in heaven today just for you. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.