I know to the minute the moment my Grandpa departed this earth! We all knew it was coming, cancer was taking him from us. It already had taken most of him before he left on his heavenly journey. I have never and do not think I ever will get over this loss. I fear for myself the day that I lose my parents, I fear for how I will be able to go on with my life. They are best friends to me, we have remained close, even though obstacles and certain people have tried to disconnect us from our special bond.
My Grandpa was a very special man! Everyone loved him, especially the ladies. He was so handsome and Incan see him now singing and playing his guitar, dancing a jig around the room! He was such a bright light in my world, in a lot of peoples world. I know my Dad must miss him immeasurably and my Grandma, after so many years together, I simply cannot imagine how much she misses him. I mean, I cry about it on a fairly regular basis. The mention of him brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat.
I miss him and his love of life, his spirit so much! I remember our conversation about him deciding to have surgery to remove the cancer. His decision was guided by a verse in the Bible. I am aggravated that I cannot remember which one, but It seems like it was in Corinthians. He showed it to me and tried to reassure me that no matter what he felt this was the decision God had led him to make.
I cried a lot, I cried the morning of the surgery saying bye to him. He was in the wheelchair heading back and I knew things would never be the same. I brought my schoolwork (college), but there was no concentrating on that day.
Many family members were present on this day! When the surgery was done, the Dr called us into a private family room. I will never forget him saying the cancer had metastasized into his lymph nodes and they had removed all they could. He indicated he probably had maybe 2 years to live. The room went black, I was tucked into a corner next to my Dads youngest brother and his girlfriend. I couldn’t stand either of them. I told myself I could not pass out, I could not add more stress to a stressful and utterly sad situation. I closed my eyes and breathed in air and somehow was able to bring myself back around without collapsing.
Now, before my Grandpa went back for surgery, he said when I get out I don’t want to see any crying. Don’t come back and see me if you’re going to be crying. Everyone took their turn visiting him in ICU, but I did not. I had sought out the chapel in the hospital. I needed to cry and prayers in on my own, I didn’t want to be around anyone! This was not going to be alright. There was construction going on, so I could not get to the chapel. I found a door outside to a little sitting area. I just sat there on a bench for hours and hours sobbing asking God why and to please heal him. Tears fill my eyes as I type this. It has been nearly 24 years and I am still not over this!
Someone came to find me late in the afternoon, probably my Dad or my Aunt – it’s a blur. I did not go see him, I did not want to upset him! I remember on the car ride back to Grandma & Grandpas House, we had to pull over, so I could throw up.
I saw him the next morning when we returned to the hospital. He wanted to know where I had been, I should have known. I told him the truth, I could not stop crying and did not want to disappoint him especially since he said no crying. He of course said I should have came in anyways. He was such a selfless man, like my own Daddy and the wonderful husband I have been blessed with. I also did not want him to know about his prognosis, since it was decided we would wait for a few days to tell him. I think he already knew the news was not good since no one told him anything. It was simply going to be a very devastating blow, As a,ways, he remained positive and relied on his trust in God that thing s would be alright, one way or the other!
I have known since then how fragile life is. He was such a very strong man & this illness snuck up on all of us. It was so unexpected, it was just not possible. I was only 19 when he was diagnosed and a few weeks from turning 20 when his suffering ended. He put up all the fight he could, enduring chemo and it just wasn’t enough. When he was at home dying he would be talking to his Dad and look up saying “those are the good guys up there!”
People have always said that I have an “old soul”. It gets older with life experience, I try to be more of a listener than a talker. Sometimes, I talk too much!
Learning that my life has changed forever a couple of months ago has really set in as to how fragile life is. I’ve always worried about losing the ones love. Now, I am grieving the loss of what my life was, of what I thought it was going to be. Unless there is some significant medical breakthrough, my life, life as I knew it for almost 41 years is gone. I am grieving and I am angry and this makes me feel a whole lot of the emotions I felt when my Grandpa died. I am angry at the part of my life I feel I wasted.
I continue to grieve for him and I don’t know how long this grief will last. Maybe this will be never ending. I feel frustrated & these frustrations and ups and downs are never going to go away. My independence is lost, I will never be able to work again, be the same Mom I used to be, he the same wife, daughter, sister, aunt… I have to adapt to asking for help, which I hate to do. When I want something done, I just want to do it!
So, today in my painfully perfect life, I pray for all of us who suffer with chronic pain. For all of us who have lost a part of who they used to be. I pray for an end to this grief I fear will never end. I remain thankful for the life I do have, for the pain which is much less than some endure. I am blessed with a supportive family and knowing they will never abandon me.