My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago. Since then she has gone through many rounds of chemotherapy. She was put on a morphine pump and oxygen. She couldn’t move around a lot without becoming extremely tired and out of breath. She couldn’t be left at home alone because of her past tendency of severe seizures. We couldn’t go on our traditional vacation because she coundn’t fly in a plane with oxygen.
This was my grandmother’s second time having cancer. They believe that the radiation the doctors gave her fifteen years ago when she had breast cancer was too much and put her at risk for cancer later on in life. It came back, and it was worse than before.
Members of our family took turns spending the night with her because my grandfather worked nights in Indianapolis. Until she got worse she spent days alone. Then someone had to be there twenty-four- seven. I usually spent weekends with her. That cut down on my being able to spend time with any of my friends or my boyfriend.
I can remember when she was a lively, energetic person always wearing me out. She was the one who taught me to do gymnastics; she is the one who taught me to walk, talk, even swim. When I was in elementary school she was my Girl Scout leader, we did all kinds of things in Girl Scouts. She was supposed to live long enough to see me graduate high school and college, watch me get married, and have kids so she could spoil them like she did us.
I believe that family and friends are important to have. I never realized it until Grandma was diagnosed; everyone came together and started to help us. All of my aunts, cousins, and great-grandmothers came to help clean her home and stay with her at night. We all have come together even though we had been broken for years.
My friends all know about my grandmother, and most have seen her in the shape she was in. They also know how close to her I was and know that without her I am nothing. When grandma was having a bad day, or week, they tried to cheer me up and tell me everything is all right. Sometimes they take me out somewhere to get my mind off of it. They put the light back in my life.
The church members dedicated their Tuesday’s and Thursday’s to come and keep her company. The women brought food for them to eat so she didn’t have to get up and cook. Our church members are like family to us and have told us that they would be delighted to spend the days with G-ma if we needed them.
Without the support of our family I do not know what I would do. I would probably go crazy. They have helped me through a lot the past few years. They have helped me “keep my cool.” Without my family I would be totally lost.
Even though she might not be with us in the physical world, she will be with us in our hearts. My family and friends will always remind me of the good times, not the bad.
On August 13th, 2008 my grandmother passed away. It was our first day of school, but mom said she went peacefully. I still miss her a lot and think about her constantly. She is still a very big part of my life. Living without her has been hard, especially on my mother. We always catch ourselves dialing her number to tell her about our day and what we learned, but we suddenly realize that she’s not going to answer the phone. Life goes on, but we depend more on our family now more than ever.
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