I’m thankful for at least one more holiday…one more Thanksgiving…one more Christmas…one more season wrapped in the warmth of my family. I am thankful for time, however short it may be.
My grandma is dying of liver cancer.
And until recently, I have resisted the reality of it with every part of my being. The thought of losing her chokes the air out of my lungs. I can feel it close around my heart and tighten its grip. It is painful…real. The anger I felt when we first found out would burn my tears before they could even roll down my cheeks, but now they flow freely. They stop me at moments during my day and I am overcome with grief so profound it makes me weak.
I could curse cancer. I could scream. I could ask why. But none of that changes anything. Nothing can stop the conclusion of life. Death waits for all of us.
I am hopeful that she will not suffer. I am hopeful that she will die with the dignity of knowing who she is and who we are and just how much she is loved before her Alzheimer’s has the opportunity to take that all away. I am hopeful that she will live on in every person she has touched. That life doesn’t end at death. That she will always be with me just like she promised.
The chemo has taken her hair, it has made her weak, and it has further deteriorated her already slipping memory, but for now it is keeping her alive. It’s our only hope. The liver cancer is aggressive. There is no cure. They are treating her to relieve her pain and to slow the growth and to keep her here a little longer.
I am grateful that I get to tell her just how much she means to me. That I get the chance to let her know how she shaped my life and how lucky I am to have been loved by her. I am thankful that my children will have known her and that someday they will realize that the path I set for them was paved early on by her.
Every part of who I am can be found somewhere within you.
You introduced me to Hans Christian Andersen, Beethoven and Poe. You opened the doors of museums to me. You gave me the stories and traditions of your Danish and German born parents. You taught me about manners, etiquette and the art of being a woman all while laying the foundation of feminism that has guided me through life. You told me that I could do and become anything I wanted. You taught me how to cook, and more importantly…how to entertain. You revealed the secrets of marriage through the relationship you have with Grandpa. You exposed me to the wonders of spirituality and opened my eyes and mind to Wicca, Buddhism, Hinduism and the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. You know that there is so much more to our universe than what we can see with our eyes.
You always made certain that I knew just how much I was loved.
Every moment I have been given with you has been a gift.
I love you.