When we first heard this diagnoses, we all tried to hold on to hope that she could fight it. They found the spots in her lungs so early, it was still in the treatable stage. As long as it did not go into her brain, she stood a fighting chance. Not long after the first call, the second call came, the cancer was in her brain. I will never forget the pain I felt the moment I heard those words. I knew my Grandma was dying.
Now I am no stranger to loss. We have lost people, including two of my other Grandparents. It does not matter how many times a person goes through it, losing someone you love deeply takes a toll on you. I cried, I prayed, I cried more and to this day I still cry and pray.
Grief is a hard thing, I have been grieving since the day I heard the news. Over the last year I have spent extra time with her, I wish I could have had more time but I am very grateful for what I did get. It is hard for me to get there, I live out of state and it is not always easy to just go. I made the most of the visits I did have, spending time with her, going to lunch, going to ice cream, sitting with her and talking, looking at old photos, laughing at stories I had already heard a thousand times. Just enjoying every single moment because I knew soon those moments would be the last memories I have of her. I have had over a year and I still can not imagine how heavy my heart will be the day she is no longer with us.
Right now my Grandma is the last stages of her life. She is no longer the person that I love so much. It is hard for my family to watch her like this. My mom recently visited her and said she is just a shell of the person we all know. It is hard for me to think that the women that I grew up with is suffering this way. It is painful for all the members of my family to see her like this when we all know her as the wonderful person she was. That is what the rest of my post is going to focus on, who my Grandma was.
The first thing you need to know about my Grandma is that she was strong. She was the mother of five children, she lost her first husband far to early, becoming a single mother when she still had children at home. She found love again, marrying the man I knew as my Grandpa. My childhood is filled with memories of my Grandparents. When I was sixteen, my Grandpa suffered a stroke which would lead to dementia and we would lose him two year later.
My grandma traveled a lot, the thousand of vacation photos she has will tell you that. I have looked at those pictures so many times over the years, each time hearing a new story. Sometimes hearing a story I had already heard but listening anyway because my Grandma loved to tell me about her travels. After my Grandpa passed, these stories meant even more.
My grandma loved to read. Ever since I can remember, my Grandma loved books and her local library. I spent a couple weeks with her each summer when I was a teen and we always went down to the tiny library in town. She would visit with the people, check out multiple books and always make sure to get a couple for me to read while I was there. I love to read and I am sure that my Grandma's love of books plays a large role in that.
My Grandma loves birds. Her house is covered in bird statues and pictures. All my life I can remember bird houses outside, bird feeders in the trees and of course, humming bird feeders. She would have one in the front of the house so she could see it out the window and one in the back close to her sitting area so she could enjoy them outside.
My grandma loved her gardens. Her flowers were always so beautiful. We spent a lot of time outside in those gardens. She would always show me what she had planted that year, talk about how she should downsize and of course, never do it. The beauty of her flower gardens is forever implanted in my memories.
My grandma loved kids, not just her kids, grandkids and great grandkids but all kids. She volunteered her her local elementary and was loved by all. She of course loved her family, even in all of our craziness, she loved us. One of my favorite stories to tell is when my parents would drop us off, of course telling Grandma that we already had dinner and dessert so we did not need anything else. Grandma would wait until they left, plant her hands on her hips and tell us that we heard mom, no more sweets, a smile would spread across her face and she would ask, " Who wants chocolate cake"?
She teased us as well, I still have a stuffed duck from childhood that is evidence of that. When I was very young, I left the yard to play with our neighbor's dog. Of course, I did not tell anyone where I was going and when my mom could not find me, she was frantic. All was well in the end, I was fine but my Grandma took this as an opportunity to tease me as well as teach me a lesson. For awhile she had been playing a little game that involved an invisible duck that was always sitting in the chair I was about to sit in, his name is Oscar, well she found a way to bring this duck to life. She found a duck, that was sitting in a cardboard card car and told me she found him driving down the road. Of course it was not safe so she brought him to me to keep him safe and told me we should never leave the yard without telling someone. I was to little to remember this, I am retelling it from what I have been told but to this day, I still have that duck.
I could write so many stories and it still would not sum up who my Grandma was. Words really can not describe the love I have for her and what she means to me. I know she was proud of me, I know she loved me and I know that she made my life great. I know that a piece of my heart will go with her.