"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.