Thursday, March 29, 2012

losing a piece of my heart

"Grandmothers and roses are much the same. Each are God's masterpieces with different names."

My grandmother is more like a second mother to me. I spent a lot of time with her when I was a little girl. She held me when I was scared, nursed me back to health when I was sick, and consoled me when I was sad. Many of my most memorable childhood experiences were shared with her. 
To this day, she and I are still best friends. Comrades. Cohorts. We have slumber parties, shop, lunch, gossip and go to see movies together. When something happens in my life, she is one of the first people that I want to share it with.  
The first time I remember being separated from her for a long period of time was when I was about 10 years old. She and my grandfather bought a fifth wheel and travelled around the country for the summer. Every day I would try to find something to keep me occupied until 2pm when the mailman arrived. But the days dragged on agonizingly slow. Finally around 2pm, I’d see that mail truck pull up to the mailbox and I would run up the gravel driveway to the main road. I quickly began sorting through the mail with anticipation, looking for a postcard, hoping to learn of her most recent adventures. It was the longest summer of my life. My heart ached to be with her and I was disappointed to be left behind. Even though it was only a few months, it seemed like an eternity. 
Although that summer was over 20 years ago, I still remember my feelings so vividly. It is because of this that I don’t how I will survive without her when she is gone for forever. This winter, she was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic endocrine tumors (a form of cancer) that have already spread to her liver. The news broke my heart. I was devastated and cried harder than I have in my whole life. 
Initially, we thought that she had the typical form of pancreatic cancer in which she would have less than 6 months to live. My struggle with infertility made the diagnosis even more painful because she would not be around to meet my child (if I was ever blessed with one). She would miss one of the biggest milestones in my life, one that I have agonized over for more than three years. The thought was unbearable. I prayed and prayed for this to be a mistake. I prayed that God would not take her from me so soon. He answered my prayers. 
When we went to see the oncologist, the doctor informed us that my grandmother has a slow growing type of cancer. These slower growing tumors can be treated with targeted therapy drugs. The treatment will not kill the cancer but it will block the growth and spread of the disease. With any luck, this could give us a few more precious years with her.  
I am beyond grateful for the additional time we've been given. It is the biggest blessing for me and my family. But I am still acutely aware that I will have to say good bye to her sooner than I'd like. Not that I would ever feel ready for a goodbye of this magnitude. The time with her is going to fly by and then she will be gone. A piece of my heart will go with her. All that I will have left are my memories of her. But memories will not be enough to fill the hole that she will leave in my life. 
My grandmother is one of the most beautiful people that I know and her love has shaped the person that I am today. She is strong, kindhearted, sensitive, and caring. Her family is her world. She's passionate about gardening and has the most exquisite, fragrant roses that you've ever seen. When she is gone, I will miss her more than words can describe.


Shannon Elise said...

What an absolutely beautiful post and tribute to your grandma. While I know not a good diagnosis, I am so happy to hear that it is slow growing. She seems like a very special lady. Well, she would have to be to have such an amazing granddaughter. May the time you have left together be full of new memories that will keep your heart full when it is time for her to go.

Valerie Griffin said...

i know you grandmother is a very special lady! praying for y;all!

newbie said...

What a beautiful post. I'm so sorry, it must be so hard, but it's wonderful that you have such memories. I barely knew my grandparents because they lived in another country. I hope she stays healthy as long as possible and that you get to spend as much time with her as you can. Thanks for sharing.

Heather @ A Little Hope in My Pocket said...

I, too, was super close to my grandma and losing her was so hard. Praying that this time you have left will be extra special.

sass @ (In)fertility Unexplained said...

This is a really wonderful post. I'm so glad for you that they found a bit of light in this terrible diagnosis. I hope the treatments work well and you have lots of time to create new memories with your grandmother.

Trishski said...

Beautiful post Jessica. Brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing this with us. I'm so happy that you will have a few more precious years with such a lovely lady.

Good Timing said...

I only have my grandpa left now and I treasure all my time with him. Losing grandparents is so hard but the memories really do last forever.

Lora said...

Thank you for sharing her with us. She sounds like a wonderful, beautiful woman that you have been blessed with. Hoping you enjoy every day you have with her. xoxo

Samantha said...

awh! I am so sorry! I'll be praying for you and your family!

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