I Hate You, Cancer.

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I apologize for not writing sooner. For one, I often think of blog ideas, don't write them down and then forget them. I'm a Mom, and a forgetful one at that...if I don't write it down right away or *really* commit it to my memory, I'm not going to remember. (I've been trying to be better about that though and have been carrying a notebook around with me to jot down things as they come to me.)

Also, we've also had some family things going on. My Grandpa (my Dad's Dad) found out this week he has cancer and the prognosis is not good. I've been busy sifting through my emotions on it and thinking about things from the past. I seem to have become much more emotional than I ever was after having babies, which is at times very infuriating.

My Grandma (not his wife; my other Grandma) died in 2004 from cancer and it was one of the most difficult things I can remember. I can't even imagine how hard it was for her daughters - my mother and her sisters - to see this outspoken, talkative lady who made blankets for everyone's babies and cheated at cards, reduced to a hollow shell of her former self.

My family has had it's share of struggles - my Grandpa (her husband) was killed when I was in first grade by a drunk driver. I was definitely Grandpa's girl and it hit me hard. My Dad has told me about when the police called after the accident. They needed to talk to someone and he stepped up & took the phone. He then had to tell my Grandma that her beloved husband, the father of her children, the grandfather of many, would never be coming back to us. I was outside with the other kids but my Grandma's shrill scream of terror and the deep wrenching sobs that followed is something I have never been able to erase from my memory. It haunted my dreams for weeks afterwards and even today, occasionally pops up as a nightmare.
My Grandpa's death was something (as wrong as this may sound) that was easier for me to deal with, in a way. He was there and then he was gone. I and my whole family were just forced to accept that we would never see him again. It was difficult but it was final - it wasn't a sickness that was drug out or a long battle with a disease. I don't know if that makes it easier to cope or not - for me at that time, it did.

Cancer is most often times different - it eats away at the person, making them weaker, tearing them down bit by bit until they take their very last breath. And that is very difficult for anyone to watch. During the last weeks of my Grandma's life she came in and out of her drug-filled haze, talking in riddles and just struggling to breathe. We gathered around, holding her hands, talking to her and letting her know we were there. Finally, on Christmas Eve a nurse told us, "She's ready to go. She just doesn't want to leave with you all here." So with a heavy heart, the family all came home and tried to get some sleep. We (or at least I) fully expected to go back to the hospice the next day. But the nurse was right - my Grandmother died Christmas day. I know that her daughters have told me before that they feel awful for doing that and that they feel like she died sad and alone but I feel that it was what was best & that it was what she needed/wanted. I hold onto the idea that Grandma knew we were all going home and that it would be Christmas the next day - a time when the family would be celebrating. We would all be getting together for lunch, the kids would be enjoying presents and playing, etc. and she finally could rest, knowing that we all would take care of each other. And we have. My family has close-knit bonds unlike a lot of others I have seen. Yes, we may be at each others throats occasionally or we may break down & cry about something - but I know that if I needed anything (ANYTHING!) I could go to my family & they would help me. I like to think that Grandma is at peace now and that she watches over us all. Perhaps that's childish or silly but it helps me to feel better.
Another thing that has helped me is that invariably at ANY of our family functions, someone relates a funny story about Grandma. It always makes everyone laugh and I think - Look at the legacy this woman has left! Even with her gone for almost five years, we're still talking about years and years ago when she didn't bake the pumpkin pie and served it to Grandpa! That says a lot about a person. I think it's good to keep someone's memory alive. I'm not saying you have to talk about them every waking moment, but pausing to remember them every once in awhile or to relate a funny story is a good idea.

So now we are faced with another cancer situation and I don't even know how to feel. I don't want to see that all happen again and I feel so terribly for my Grandmother, my Dad and his brother and sister. Along with our daily routine and the upcoming holidays, it's a lot of things to process. But I do know that I am thankful for the time I have had with my grandparents and that they have gotten to enjoy their great-grandchildren. I guess I'm just wondering how you all cope with things like this...? I know families that have gone through much worse and I'm sure you all have your own ways of dealing with things. So please feel free to leave a comment. And I apologize for being a Gloomy Gus, I've just been thinking a lot!

5 comments :

  1. I am so sorry you are going through this, Shay. I know what it's like to lose a grandparent you are close to, to cancer. As you know, my grandma died of cancer when I was in high school.

    Death in family is really hard to deal with. You and your family with be in my thoughts and prayers through this difficult time.

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  2. I'm so sorry about your Granpa. Cancer sucks! My MIL was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago and it was a scary time. We were blessed and she's still with us. I think it definitely made us all appreciate what we have a little more though. I hope you get through this difficult time. Prayers for you.

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  3. Hi there.
    I'm stopping by via MBC to follow you.
    Have a great day!
    Harriet

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  4. Thank you so much for the comments, I appreciate them all.

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  5. Thank you so much for the comments, I appreciate them all.

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