"LUNG CANCER CHRONICLES: MY GRANDFATHER"
This is really an expression of love: of family, of friends and of all of those whose lives have somehow intersected with mine. My life is enriched by every relationship, and I am me, this person, because of all of those who are now a part of me.
Some relationships are or have been purely filled with joy, some tainted with deep sorrow and others have left me me with wistful feelings of what might have been.... indeed, what should have been. My grandfather fits into all three categories and he was only in my life for a short time. His legacy and the memories have lived on in the stories and the photographs and especially those old movies. Despite having no sound, the images tell such wonderful and rich stories.
I think it had to have been the first time I heard the word cancer. Over the course of the years that followed, I remember hearing things like, "Six months.... the operation was over quickly, as soon as the doctor saw what was going on, they closed him up and gave him six months."
My nana was a widow for FORTY years. My grandfather was larger than life. He was 55 years old when he died. I was a child. A heartbroken child. Not only was it the first time I heard the word cancer, it was the first time I was touched by death. It was November 28, 1966. Lung cancer. It would be just two months later that my mom's dad would die. Also cancer. His was liver cancer if I'm not mistaken. Decades of no progress where it really counts despite the way the statistics are presented..... Because lung cancer is so stigmatized, that has become a key focus in my life but really, we need more big success stories, across many cancer types and subtypes.
My focus is on one grandfather because the anniversary of his death happens to be the same day as Thanksgiving. Coinciding with a holiday, it has given me reason to pause and reflect. Like my dad, he is missed at every occasion, every Sunday gathering and pretty much every day. Today, as I make the last preparations to celebrate a quiet holiday with five of us at the table, I pause to remember all of those who are no longer here. I will gaze at the flickering candle flames and send love and light to all who have come to mean so much to me.
Thank you for being a part of my life, for allowing me into yours and for sharing the path with me.
We never know where we will be from one holiday to the next and I can tell you that much has happened since last year. Some things I've shared openly, the good, the great and the heartbreaks, too. Others I've kept close to my heart. They are either too painful to share, or they are not appropriate to share because the stories are not mine to tell.
I'm grateful for the gifts of love and support I've received by simply typing words on a screen and sending them out into the unknown. You, whether in the blog world or in the twitterverse, have held me up at times you may not have known I needed to be held up. I've shed many tears over the love you've so generously showered upon me and I've laughed aloud on several occasions at the silliness we have shared.
Yes, I am grateful..... in ways I can't even begin to describe.
Signing off until next week.......
With all my love,
I swiped this photograph from my mom many years ago. It was taken in the yard of my childhood home. My dad was younger than my kids and my grandfather was younger than me. I know they would both be filled with pride at the way their family has grown.
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