Continuing on…

I have suffered many a loss in our family dating back to when I was the ripe age of 9.  That is when I remember suffering my first loss.  That loss was my dads mother.  My gramma.  The only person on my dads side of the family that really ever truly meant anything to me. I remember visiting her the day before she passed.  Gramma was a victim to cancer. The first of many that I would experience in this life.  I remember seeing her lay there in the bed helpless and that wasnt the person that she was.  Gramma was the glue to the family. She took care of everyone no matter the situation.  For me to be so young and only know good of her I remember thinking why and how.  What would cause such a hateful disease want to take someone like her.  To me it wasnt cancer it was just an illness at that time, little did I know that the disease would then continue on to claim so many more of my close dear family members.

Today I morn the loss of my Uncle Phil to liver cancer. He arrived home with his family this morning at 1:22 am  At that time I felt a huge pain in my stomach, just an uneasy feeling and I knew it was time.  I knew The Lord had come to take him to be with the others I have lost over the years.  The others that awated his arrival.  I went to see him on Friday and by Sunday he was gone.  I staid there overnight Friday night and had the chance to talk with him, to see him smile at me and call my name.  I kissed his forehead and held his hand.  I staid that night at my other Uncles home with his family and returned to Uncle Phils bedside Saturday morning where I staid untl around 6 pm that evening.  I had decided that I just couldnt bare the loss, I couldnt bare to be there as Uncle Phil took his last breath.  I became real uneasy with myself and chose to take the trip back home.  I told the others including my momma, that I had to get back due to a work issue and without a hug goodbye I was on the road home.  The guilt was unbearable at first, knowing that I should of been there for my momma and my family as Uncle Phil passed to the other side.  Now Im starting to realize that its ok. I am right where I am meant to be.  Home with my immediate family. Continuing on as life seams to do. Ive cried and been held by my husband and had time to think and remember the things I love about my Uncle.  I revel in this time being able to have the peace to deal with my emotions, feelings, thoughts and concerns.  If I were there Im certain the processing of emotions would not be as easy on me as right here at home as I would be the strong one for the others, the others that need my care and undivided attention.  My heart mind and soul need me to be right here right where I am to process.  Ive talked with my momma and she is taking things better than expected which makes this a much easier decision to remain right here and home.  I did toy with the idea of driving back down south to be there for and with everyone but in the end felt that my place is here.  I will be at his funeral and I will say my final goodbyes but I have already said what I needed him to hear and am so greatful that I had that opportunity.

I recently lost our family pet Dandi 7 to stage V lymphoma in December.  I find it hard to understand and almost inhumane but it has been so much harder loosing her.  I understand that she was here and Uncly Phil was not, but having more heartbreak over the loss of a pet?  Really?  Am I silly or crazy to feel this way.  How can I even compare the two? They both hurt deeply inside? Why am I starting to feel numb to this?  I truly feel angry inside.  I feel that Uncle Phil is meeting up with Dandi and that its a nice feeling knowing that someone she knew is now there.  They had met, only for a brief time but she will know who he is and what he meant to me.  She was weird like that.  She knew me inside and out.  Maybe thats why her loss hass been so great on my heart.  Dandi 7 only lived 4 very short years with our family before being taken from us to cancer. Her story will be told.

The greatest man I ever knew died to lung cancer in 1992.  I was 16 years old.  I remember it all like it was yesterday.  My grandpa, pops, was my mommas daddy.  Little did he know, he was also my daddy.  I didnt have a dad, so in my mind and heart he was my daddy. He was the man I looked up to, the man I wanted to spend my childhood days near.  I felt safe and secure in his presence.  When I heard that he had cancer after taking a fall and thinking it was just a broken bone or something out of place to finding it was cancer, I was devastated.  He was my mommas rock. He was my rock. Granpa was only second to my momma. He died a very long horrible death to the disease. He was 76 years old I believe when he took his last breath.  I remember that night like it was yesterday.  I was home in bed asleep, not by his side. I cried hard, deep emotional cry. What a great loss to our family to his friends and loved ones. In time I made peace with his passing but have always been able to keep him close to my heart. Remembering the little things about him that made me smile then and even now. He would take the slot of #2 in loss to cancer. It still hadnt hit me how deadly the disease is. While I understood that it was the disease that took him, never in a million years at that point did it occur to me that the loss would continue.

Only three years later my gramma took the diagnosis of a brain tumor.  The same day that I had returned from morning the loss of my dads dad to heart disease I was told the diagnosis. She early on prior to the diagnosis had begun throwing up blood and in my mind she to had lung cancer. I had the privledge of holding her hand and being by her side as she took her last breath of air in this world as we know it.  My gramma and I had developed a close relationship after grampa passed.  We begun playing cards together and talking about life and love and changes.  I opened up to her as a teenager and loved every minute we had together.  As a young child she spent a lot of time with me and my brother and our cousins in nature.  She would take us to the river fishing and camping.  She would take us on walks just enjoying the beauty that nature is.  I believe it was after suffering her loss that I realized this was a continuing thing. This cancer dosnt just go away. The term cancer started to be paralyzing to my mind just to hear. I began being really confused, feeling childlike lost as to what is causing this.  Why do people close to me continue to leave me because of an illness that cannot be fixed. It was Christmas Day of 1995 that my grandma took her final breath. I was 20 years old. Just starting my adult life with my then boyfriend Gale. He came to me that night, he came to be by my side as I morned. It was that night I sat with my Aunt Marian feeling mad and just angry as she was the one telling my grama, the one who I had spent my teenage days with, that it was ok, it was ok for her to go now. I remember the hurt and the anger I felt when gramma took her last breath, thinking Aunt Marian had controlled that time for her. I soon came to realize that wasnt the case at all.  It was ok for gramma to go and she was suffering laying there.  The anger was just a way of burrying in the loss I felt after gramma had passed. 

Not long after my grammas funeral it came to light that Gales great gramma Coy had been diagnosed with cancer. Are you kidding me, is this real.  The lady had never smoked a day in her life.  She had the kindest spirit of the famly I had met.  She immediately accepted me as part of the family and I her.  Gramma Coy would dance and laugh and smile like no other.  She was this short little old lady with just an amazing personality.  In August of 1996 gramma took her final breaths.  I remember sleeping there at her home in Macomb in the recliner as her immediate family was by her side when it happened. Gale kicked my chair to wake me.  She was his number 1. He took it very hard. He and I struggled in our relationship as death just had started to take a tole on our spirits.  We argued a lot but managed to overcome. Cancer wasnt stopping.  It was just a circling through my life like the world spins round. It wasnt giving me time to even recover. It was there and it wanted me to know it wasnt going away.

I had found a break in loss.  I began to recover and learn more of the whys and hows. I started my life with my husband in 1998 when we wed. We made a life for ourselves.  We started a family. Life moved on. In those days we continued to suffer losses of family members and friends to both cancer and unrelated situations. We lost Gales cousin Brian to a car accident, my cousin Gary to cancer, my friend Shelly to cancer and then it came.  My aunt Marian was diagnosed with lung cancer. My moms heart broke. My mom became scared and helpless. Aunt Marian was a fighter. She went through a lot of chemo and radiation, ups and downs, and emotional roller coasters that would take her to her dying day.  Aunt Marian lived a ruff life at times.  After the loss of gramma she began drinking and eventually became an alcoholic. Alcoholism is not a choice.  It is a disease and it is very hard to overcome. She lost a lot of friends and family in this time as it became tiring on her loved ones to take the roller coaster ride with her. She lost a lot, job, family, home, you name it.  Eventually she had a wake up call and wanted to make things better for herself and htose around her. She started AA amongst other things that would help her to put down the bottle.  She substituted cans of pepsi instead of beer causing sever weight gain. She became addicted to the pepsi and had to fight off that addiction as well. She was super scared of her diagnosis as you can imagine with the long painful death of her daddy and the death of her mom as well. She chose to fight.  She chose to not let cancer take her down any other way. And that she did.  She kept her dignity through the day she passed. She was still getting up and trying to get herself to the bathroom, she had not been put into a hospital bed.  She did have the help of oxygen but that was it aside from the pain meds to get her through. I am so proud of her and how she handled her death and her dying days. I believe that a tumor had ended up busting in her lung and she died of choking from it. It seams scary but I dont feel she would of wanted it any other way.  Aunt Marian knew how cripling cancer could be.  She did not want to be bed ridden and not be able to take care of herself.  Her granddaughter was there the night she died.  Im certain she would not of wanted her to see her that way, but I know that Maddy understands in her heart why it happened the way it did.  

It was so hard seeing my mom that day. Watching her cry and morn the loss of her sister.  The one that no matter the mood she would talk to daily about everything. Since I had grown up and moved from the house aunt Marian was my moms venting place. An ear to listen when she was mad, hurt, upset whatever. Now mom had to say goodbye to that. Another family member that mom held dear was gone. I still morn the loss of Aunt Marian but my heart goes to my momma. She is such a strong woman. She has lost both her parents and now her sister. How could one go on after this.  But she does, every day she stays strong for us kids. She fights to keep herself healthy now as she knows how scared I am to loose her this way. My momma is my ROCK. Steady and strong. Though sometimes it goes unknown to her its always there. I try to be there for her in her times of need. I fail her often times, but I feel she understands. When she really dosnt want to she understands.

Yesterday I heard yet another potential case of lung cancer is near…….

I sit here typing away and its helping. Its helping me to understand, to hurt, to morn is ok. I continue on, life continues on.