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Evelyn Berkemier


1939 / Class of '99 / Died 1-19-03

By Jennifer Sue Bradford;

I am writing this in memory of my Mom-Mom, Evelyn Berkemier. I may not know a lot about her cancer because I am only 19, but what I do know is she was a fighter through everything.

July 4, 1999, I was at her summer house at Tilghman's Island, Maryland, back in the bedroom listening to music just like any normal day when my mom and my mom-mom came in and told me to shut the music off because they had to talk to me. My mom-mom sat on the bed next to me and said these words: "Jenny my only wish is to see you and Travis (her other grandchild) graduate. The doctor told me I have 3 years to live." I don't remember my exact words, but it was something like, "Why, what's the matter?" Once she told me, I was in shock. I did not know what to do... This was my mom-mom who raised me when my mom went back to work. This was the lady who would ride bikes, and go crabbing at 4:30 in the morning.

Looking back, I would have to say the first year was the best year. Even though she went through chemo and steroids, she still fought. Then came June 8th, 2002. It so happens that Travis's graduation from High School and mine were on the same day, but his was in the morning and mine was in the afternoon. It was a very cloudy day, so we did not think of bringing an umbrella to keep the sun off mom-mom, and her medication did not allow her to be in the sun. In the middle of the ceremony she started to get dizzy, so I took my sweater off and put it over her head. After the ceremony we went back to my house to get lunch and rest until I had to leave. Well, the time came for the Class of 2002 to walk out onto the football field and I look up in the stands and see my parents and my friends but not the one person that I really cared about, my mom-mom. Where is she? Then my mom told me to look straight ahead, and I saw her! I was so happy that she got to see me graduate. After we walked off the field, instead of going to my parents to hug them, I went to mom-mom and hugged her and said "I love you." I finally graduated High School.

That summer I regret a lot, I didn't get to see her that much. I worked out-of-state Mon-Fri, but I talked to her every day. But that summer you could tell she kinda let go of her strength. About every three weeks, she would go in to the hospital. Then September came, and I started college and she was so happy. Every day after school I would go over there and visit her. About 2 weeks before Thanksgiving she was in the hospital, and I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to what we usually do for Thanksgiving, go out for dinner. Well, sure enough, we did! She got out of the hospital the Friday before thanksgiving. She is a fighter, and we had her wheelchair to push her in. But my mom-mom is to proud to be in a wheel chair, and with one arm she held on to me and the other was holding on to my grandfather. Then came Xmas and she didn't want to come, but I think in her head she knew this was going to be the last Xmas. Looking back at the pictures we took, she already looked unhealthy. And, like every teenager, we don't like celebrating New Year's with our families, we like it with our friends. But I decided that I would, even though it wasn't going to be fun, and I actually did.

Then came the dreaded day. Every morning between 8 and 9 my mom-mom would call us and tell us to wake up. Well, January 19, 2003 my grandfather called the house and told my mom that something happened to mom-mom and she wasn't breathing right. As soon as I heard my mom say we would be right there, I jumped out of bed and got dressed. We must have made it to the hospital in 15 min, and we live 30 min away. Once we got there it was so hard for me to see her like that. After she saw my mom and me, she asked for my dad, who was at work. We called him like 30 times and he finally answered, and we told him to get to the hospital. After she saw him she wanted to talk to me, and I sat on the bed and I told her the hardest thing I will ever have to say in my life: "Mom-mom you can stop fighting." She looked at me and said "Jenny, me and you aren't fighting," and she told me she was tired and wanted to go to sleep. I said, "OK, I love you, beautiful." She slept for like 3 hours, and I fell asleep and woke up at 1:55 pm. The doctor was talking to my mom, my grandfather was holding her hand, and as my mom was walking out with the doctor, my dad ran after my mom and said, "Sue, get in here, your mom isn't breathing right." And at 2:00 pm the good Lord took her into his hands.

I still think of her to this day. She was like my backbone. My advice to everyone: Treat every day like it's your last, and never stop fighting!

In Loving Memory of Evelyn Berkemeir... I miss you, beautiful.


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