Wednesday, September 1, 2010
And Yet, Another Victim
Three days ago, my 90 year-old grandfather told me that he loved me for the very first time in all my 32 years. Today, I found out that he has cancer.
The two events are not related, as he just found out this morning. But knowing that he is ill in this way makes me cling to those precious words.
I love you.
I never doubted his love for me -- it is evident in the sound of his voice when he hears me speak on the other line. It is in the joy of his smile when our family has arrived for a visit, which are so few and far between. It is in his faithfulness of sending sweet Valentine's day cards every year, without fail, to me and, now, my daughters. He has honestly always had a big heart, I think, but was just limited in his ways of expression.
When my mother called to tell me the news, I didn't cry. But as the day wore on, I began to think of him, alone in his apartment, scared and worried. My grandmother is currently in the nursery home of their retirement community, recovering from a fall, and I am sure that he wondered how he would tell her. The victim of a terrible intruder, still trying to be strong for his family. And then, I thought about my other grandmother, who has been residing in her mansion in Heaven since April. I thought about how terrible it was to watch her die of cancer. I thought about her pain. I thought about her brave front. I thought about how much I still miss her. Every. Single. Day.
The truth is, I know very little in this moment about the severity of the situation. He is having surgery next Thursday and then all could be well. It could be as simple as that.
But I don't know and cancer scares me.
I've seen the journey down the road of radiation. I've seen the journey down the road of chemo. And I've seen the journey down the road when chemo totally and completely wrecks the body and there is nothing left to do but live out the last days in the least pain possible.
I don't want my grandfather to take the same journey as my grandmother -- down the road where the poison outweighs the strength and the cancer is allowed to thrive. And if this is the only way to glean a few more years with him, I cannot say with every ounce of my body that it is worth it.
I just don't know.
And so my prayers are that he, my family, and his doctors would have wisdom and discernment. I pray for peace and comfort for him, my grandmother, my mom and my aunt. For everyone, really. And I pray that whatever my Father in Heaven believes best, comes to pass.