By Tia Lynn Ivey
“It’s all about taking one day at a time,” said Frances Williams with a broad smile. “That’s what I do and how I live my life. Take each day as it comes and make the most of it.” After battling and beating breast cancer recently, Frances, 73, more than ever, appreciates each day and makes a point to focus on what’s most important.
Frances is a lifelong Morgan County resident and believes the simple things in life are the most wonderful. Family and faith top the list for her. Frances was raised in a big family, the youngest of six children. She grew up to have her own large family. She and her husband Bennie Williams, have six children together, including two sets of twins.
“We were blessed with our children,” said Frances. “They mean everything to me. We grew up together in a way. They were always with me and now that they are grown, they always visit.”
Frances and Bennie have 14 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Bennie and Frances celebrated 50 years of marriage this years, surrounded by their friends and family. “There’s a lot to love,” said Frances. Frances said the most defining decision of her life was to have a family and to live in faith.
“When the kids were little, I was home with them and raising them,” said Frances. “And that was it for me. I tried to teach them and love them and show them they mean the world to me.”
Every other Sunday, Frances kids still gather at her home in Madison for dinner.
“I make all this food and cook some of dishes my mama used to make, and they all come over to see us,” said Frances beaming. “That’s what matters.”
Bennie, her husband, credits Frances for creating a beautiful family life.
“She is a wonderful lady,” said Bennie, who met Frances back in high school. “She is the glue that has kept this family together. She was always here, even when I couldn’t be because of the military or when I was off at work. She always loved and cared for everybody. She is a strong woman.”
In 2014, Frances was diagnosed with breast cancer. After spending decades of caring for and nurturing everyone else, it was time for Frances to be taken care of by her loved ones.
“My children and my husband and my church, they all were there for me,” said Frances.
Frances faced her uphill battle with cancer bravely.
“You know when I found out, I just broke down crying. But just that once. After I cried and let it all out, it didn’t bother me anymore and I was at peace,” said Frances. “I had my faith and my family and just faced each day as it came.”
Frances and Bennie make a point to travel, taking family vacations to Florida and going on cruises together. “I love to go places and see new things,” said Frances. “But I love living in Madison and glad we made our home here.”
Frances advice to young people is to make good decisions while holding out hope for change. She remembers the days of segregation and how she felt inside things would get better.
“You know back then, I always believed the times would change and in the mean time you just have to live your life and do what you can,” said Frances. “I tell all the young people in my family to stay in school, go to college, stay away from drugs, and to just wait, because the things that need to change now will one day, too. You have to have faith. Without faith, you can’t make it.”