My Grandpa passed away Thursday in the early afternoon. I wrote on here about when he first got cancer (I Hate You, Cancer) and I wrote an update about him at Christmas time. I even have a recent draft of an update on him entitled, "I Still Hate You, Cancer." But I guess I'll never get to finish my thoughts on that now. I do still hate cancer, in case you're wondering. I think it's a horrible, terrible disease. It strikes and it seems like whatever can happen, will happen to the person who is affected by it. I hate how it chips away at a person until they're a hollow shell of their former self. My Grandpa's started out as bladder cancer but progressively got worse and worse until it eventually worked it's way into his entire body, even within his bones.
When I was younger, I imagined my Grandpa as the Marlboro Man. That seems silly to me now because I don't ever remember seeing my Grandpa smoking (I don't know that he ever did?) and I don't recall him wearing cowboy hats. He was a trucker for many years and wore all sorts of hats from different trucking companies but never a cowboy hat. I suppose it's possible that he might have at some point in time. Regardless, I think that connection came from the Westerns he loved to read and the stoic, stern nature he had. When Grandpa spoke up, you listened. And if he yelled, you better knock it off.
As I grew up though, I realized that my Grandpa had a very soft and caring side - he just showed it in a different way. People often told me about how he bragged on me when I wasn't around. When I was a preteen/teenager and would come over to visit, he would go get the four-wheeler out without my asking because he knew I wanted to ride it. And when I had my son, the first great-grandchild, Grandpa and Grandma had just left to go camping in Southern Indiana...so he turned right around and headed back. That was a big deal because my Grandpa loved camping and traveling with his RV.
I admire my Grandpa for staying very alert and with it until the very end. Every time we went up to visit, he knew who was there visiting with him. The last time in fact, he insisted the kids take some things he wanted them to have - balloons and a little Gideon's Bible for Zeke. When we left, I had a horrible feeling that we would not see him again this side of heaven but brushed it off as an overreaction. Just a few short days later he was gone.
I have been dealing with a lot of emotions this past weekend. Of course I'm sad that he's gone. I knew that it would happen eventually, but that still doesn't make it any easier. And I worry about my Grandma and how she will cope.
Mostly though, I've just felt mad. It seems strange to me, almost irrational in a way...but I've just felt this overwhelming feeling of anger at the world. I'm angry that Grandpa was taken away from his kids - even though they're grown, they're still his kids - and that my Dad no longer has a "Daddy". Although I know it'll happen someday, I can't even begin to imagine losing my Dad. I'm angry that my Grandpa's wife of 57 years is now without the person who probably knew the most about her and that she now has an empty spot at the table, in the bed...probably everywhere she turns. I'm angry that the cancer made him suffer so and that he, the man who was always cold his whole life, couldn't get comfortable no matter what he did and that he was burning up at the end.
And selfishly, I'm angry that I missed out on The 2:1 Conference. That's a very stupid reason and I'm not proud to admit it but it's true. I was so looking forward to getting a refreshing look at homeschooling, blogging, my Christian walk, motherhood...the whole shebang. Obviously, I'm not mad at my family or my Grandpa. Nobody made this happen so my weekend would be ruined - it just happened. My sponsors for the conference and all of my #2to1Conf friends on Twitter have been so very understanding and I'm eternally grateful to them for their support. I am positive that this is where I needed to be, especially with all the different questions my son has been asking. And not to mention that my husband's grandmother took a spill and ended up having to have surgery on her broken hip! With all that going on, I know I would not have been able to concentrate at all at the conference.
The funeral home did a wonderful job on my Grandpa, which I suppose is weird to say, but he had lost so much weight & had so many problems that I wasn't sure what he would look like. But he looked just like my Grandpa did before he got cancer. The services were beautiful and I'm proud of myself that I was able to play the piano, something that my grandparents have always enjoyed. My family is doing well and I think we're going all going to come through this okay. I am glad for the time on Earth that my Grandpa had and that he got to know my children. I know that he is at peace now and that he's no longer in pain or suffering. I know all that.
So why do I still feel so angry? Trying to channel anger into something good is so hard. You just want to scream at the world. I had been praying and searching my Bible but my heavy heart has been weighing me down. I just want to take a break from everything for a little bit! But unfortunately the world doesn't stop turning just because I want it to. There are baseball practices and games I must ferry Zeke to and chores I've left unfinished for days, homeschooling and lesson plans that need made, emails that need answered, meetings and groups to go to, food that needs made, errands that need run...the life of a busy family must go on. These past few days I've found myself crying out to God to just show me what to do to get rid of this terrible anger that's been eating away at me. And in the quiet moments of this evening, with everyone else asleep, I meditated over the past few days & God's Word and realized several things. One verse in particular stood out to me: "In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." - Ephesians 4:26-27 In allowing this anger to continue, I'm allowing the devil a foothold into my life. I have wonderful memories to hold on to and family members to take care of - I can choose joy over sadness, happiness over anger, peace over turmoil. I don't have all the answers or know the reasons why, but that's okay - I know who does. And to have peace, I need to turn everything over to him: all of my anger, my sadness and even my confusion. The words of the song I played at Grandpa's funeral ran through my mind:
"I cast all my cares upon you,
I lay all of my burdens down at your feet,
And anytime, that I don't know, what to do,
I will cast all my cares upon you."