Francis says that's when things went from bad to worse.
"When I saw her get even worse," Briana Francis, age 10, said, "that's when I started crying and I called my mom. My mom gave us instructions of what to do."
Those instructions came from Leona Francis, all the way from John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore because Leona is a seriously ill lupus patient.
Thirteen-year-old Sierra was angry with her little sister at first for troubling their very sick mother but she complied with her mom's orders to call 911. "What was just going through my head," said Sierra Francis, "was that I just did not want to lose my last grandmother."
Just as panicked was this 13-year-old who considers herself a grandchild and even insists on using Francis' last name.
"She's like my family so it was hard," Jasira Francis said.
Sharon Francis was rushed to the St. Francis Hospital, but the strong-willed grandmother refused to stay because she feared her grandchildren would have to spend Christmas alone.
"I said, 'I got these girls to watch. Their mother's in Johns Hopkins right now. They don't have anybody else to come take my place,'" Sharon Francis said.
Francis hasn't had the time or money to shop for Christmas presents for the girls but considers her young guardian angels her special gift. What's more, her daughter was just transferred to a Wilmington nursing home so the family will be together on Christmas day. As for the girls...
"I really feel loved, and I love them back," Sharon Francis said.