Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Christmas Gift No One Wanted...

Pain. That is what I'm feeling right now. That is what I DON'T want to feel right now.

Back sometime in April I think, we learned my Grandfather had Alzheimer's and Lung Cancer. Tonight I am told the cancer has spread. If we're lucky, we have 6 more months with him.

I don't know why I'm so shocked. He hasn't been treating the cancer. I guess I just didn't want to deal with it. I wanted to believe we had more time. I wanted.... more. I'm not ready for this. I don't think any of us are.

He gave me away at me wedding. I remember standing outside the doors to the sanctuary, just me and him. He told me how beautiful I was. He told me how proud of me he was. He told me I had a good man.

I remember going to the Redskins game with him and splitting my fries with him on the way home.

I remember doing all my middle school projects on him.

I can remember riding bikes around my neighborhood and stopping in say hi.

I love watching him at family gatherings. He looks around and smiles, and just takes it all in. He loves family.

Since I can remember, he and my grandmother have lived closed by. As a child they lived in my neighborhood for a bit. I would pass their house to and from my way to school. And when they moved from there, they were only 15 minutes or so away.

When my father died, he helped us get our home ready to sell. He also made me a key chain he carved out of wood. It said RALPH. My dad's name. And it was stained dark cherry. It was beautiful.

When my sisters and cousins and I were all very young, he would read us "The Night Before Christmas" every Christmas. We don't do that anymore, but we still sing quite a few Christmas Carols. He lights up when we do. He always has.

When we moved to another state after my father died, it wasn't long before they moved too. Again, into our neighborhood. All my life (for the most part) I don't think they have lived more than 15 minutes or so from me.

He loves celery. He has a bowl after his dinner. I use steal pieces from him. lol Only, he knew I did it. After a while, he just started giving pieces to me.

When I got engaged, he and my grandmother were the first people, outside of my mother, we told. We told them before we even told anyone in my husband's family.

When I was told this news, I thought I was going to throw up. I am just not ready for this. I'm not ready to say goodbye to another family member. Especially him. We just buried my husband's grandfather in September. He too was an amazing man.

My thoughts went to my grandmother. How strong she's been through all of this. I can't imagine her pain right now. And there are also on my mom and her sisters. My mom has lost her husband. Two of my aunts have lost sons. Now we all get say goodbye to their dad. I don't want to do this! I know I sound like a spoiled brat right now, but I don't care. I am not ready to say goodbye yet. None of us are.

From what I am told, best prognosis, 6 or so months. But, without giving his personal information and condition away, the cold hard truth is, he probably won't make it that long.

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO thankful that our ENTIRE family will be here for Christmas. Family from PA and VA. And even family from Germany. This is, without a doubt, our last Christmas with him. I'm so thankful, he gets to spend it with us all. Not everyone gets that kind of privilege. He will.

I'm also thankful, I suppose, that it's the cancer taking him, and not his Alzheimer's. He will be able (God willing) to say all his goodbyes to those he loves. And all those that love him won't have to suffer with him not knowing them. I suppose this is a bit selfish of me. But it is what it is.

I pray for strength for my grandmother, mom, and aunts. I pray peace over them and my grandfather. I pray he goes quietly in his sleep, when the time comes. I pray this is a Christmas we'll always remember.

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