My grandmother and grandfather have been taking care of my older brother (Benji), younger sister (Sylvia), and I since we emerged from the womb. They’ve been with us since the beginning, and they are still with us today. My grandparents have taught us everything we have to know in life. They have disciplined us, made and molded us into the person we are today.
In mid-late May, my grandmother was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. There was cancer in the thyroid, spine, brain, and it spread all throughout her bones. We had no idea this disease was eating away at her until she began feeling very sickly for a week, that she had to hospitalized (twice; the second time was when she received her biopsy, MRIs, CT scans and discovered her illness). She has just finished her 15 days of radiation therapy (which will allow the pain to be lessened but does not assist in killing off the cancer). The doctor had told me that her health will decline rapidly and that she only has 6 more months to live, if that. But the doctor was correct, and she is getting weaker, and I see her suffering more everyday. Today, my family has grown so much and we are all helping each other in order to try and keep my grandmother healthy and happy. My grandfather, especially, has been a model of unconditional love for the past couple of months. When I was younger, he was a man with little to say, stern, strict, but even in discipline, love shined through those frightening characteristics. Today he is a man who expresses what he is feeling, he is tender, and love is apparent. The manner in which he cares for my grandmother portrays what it means in the marriage vows he made with my grandma, “in sickness or in health.” Not once did he have a lazy day where he sat and gave up on my grandma. Everyday, I see him praying, giving her medicine on the dot, providing painkillers when she asks for it, encouraging my grandmother to hang on just a bit longer and he reminds her how far she’s come and how much she’s done. Not being the most social person, he even does small, simple things such as speak over the phone to my grandmother’s friends for her, going out of his comfort zone to please her. He is a man of God, realizing that life is not forever and soon everyone will return Home. Grandpa is putting everything in God’s hand, but hope that death wouldn’t come so soon is still there. Eternal friendship, faith, hope, and unconditional love, is seen within their relationship.
Our Family is being extremely strong, trying our best to hide tears, but we are all hurting inside and we know the day that we are dreading is coming soon. It is quite inevitable at the stage the cancer is at and also at the age my grandma is (81). We definitely have not given up on the hope that she will live longer than the assumed time that the doctors have given us, though. I personally am in denial of the fact that someone who’s been so strong my whole life, with so much patience, unf, and willpower, is one day going to leave my side. However, I start this blog to be a compilation of, words, photos, scattered thoughts, the simple things in life, expression of feelings, and focusing upon the growing love of my family. I don’t know how to write eloquently, and I am not a grammar-maniac, but, I do know that this has to be let out from within and that this experience has to be documented somehow.
I woke up to my mother in my room today, telling me my grandma is worse today.
I went downstairs into the makeshift living space that we made for our grandparents in our living room, sat next to my grandmother for a couple of minutes today, holding her hand, crying, and praying for her. Grandpa was in the room singing hymns, choking on tears that were being held back, while taking intermissions to pray.
We got rid of the portable toilet I bought a week ago, because grandma can’t even sit up on her bed without having a struggle and crying out in pain so now she wears diapers. I remember being at Rite Aid a 4 days ago go through the aisle with the diapers and thinking to myself “at least she doesn’t have to wear those.” It seems as if time is not on our side and the cancer is so rapid.
Everyone is hurting this morning, I even saw dad cry and dad doesn’t cry.
Grandpa went to grandma with a mango today and was feeding her small pieces and he was saying small things like “Okay! There you go! Want more? No more? Okay!” Just his enthusiam and his positive vibe may be helping grams stick it out. I think grandma is really uncomfortable having to just go pee and the diaper being her new toilet so she kept on telling grandpa that she was going to go pee, multiple times and all those times my grandpa replied with “just go!! it’s fine!! i’ll take care of it after you go!!” but I’m sure my grandma hasn’t gone in a diaper for 79 years so she has every right to be shy and uncomfortable. hehe. But grandpa giving his 100% EVERYTIME withOUT fail, his willingness to serve, and his unselfishness is love.
Keep fighting, Grandma.