Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Great Grandpa "Owie"

My grandpa is dying of cancer. 

Grandpa "Owie" she used to call him

There, I said it.  He battled prostate cancer over a decade or two ago, but it is back and holding at the inoperable/untreatable status.  He's been doing really well overall, but has taken a more rapid downturn as of late. 

I know my grandpa.  I grew up with him only about fifteen minutes from our house.  I went on walks with him and grandma. As Andrea and Grandma raced ahead of us, we would take our time and shoot the breeze in the process.  We dug in the garden and walked through the woods (despite the "pickers").  My junior and senior year of high school I returned to finish up my high school career at Esko and spent even more time with them.  I'd go there for an early dinner between school and practices or games.  Grandma would always feed me or I would clean out her fridge and finish leftovers.  We had a rhythm together in those days where I'd volunteer to clean up and grandma would insist I go rest, so I would go upstairs and lay down on the big bed and grandpa would take the recliner next to the bed.  We'd visit for a bit until one of us nodded off, and before I knew it grandma was calling us down so I wouldn't miss my game.  Grandpa would drop me off early and then go back and pick up grandma before coming back to watch me play. 

A few months back when we found out the cancer was back, one of my cousins who isn't in town asked if all the grandkids/kids could write letters to grandpa.  He said that it was foolish to wait until he passed to recount all the good memories we have had so we should write them now so grandpa could be blessed by them.  Being someone who likes to write I readily agreed, but no matter how many times I sat down to put thoughts on paper... I just couldn't.

She always tells Grandpa that he's funny

I guess maybe writing all the memories made it all feel too "over" for me.  I didn't want to act like he was dying when he looked fine to me.  I didn't want to encourage him to go either or give my blessing as I somehow thought that would make him... go sooner. 

It's so cute how she likes to climb up and cuddle with both grandpa & grandma...

I saw him today and yes, he is losing strength; but he's still my grandpa.  I still love to see his eyes light up when he sees me and the tear reflecting mine as we talk of those days in high school.  I'm sad as his days here with me on this earth are numbered, but I'm greatful that we share the same faith in God that will bring us back together someday.  I'm blessed to have grown up with four grandparents.  My first grandpa died only a few years ago.  My kids know their great grandparents and not many can still say that today.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that someday we'll walk again down the streets of gold together.  I don't mourn for where he's going, but for our loss of him here with us. 

now that she's not Aiya, it's Grandpa Howard

Maybe I'm getting closer to that letter and what is should look like.  It may take me some time, though.  He knows I love him, so that's what matters.  Memories may have to wait until I can't see him anymore.  My time is better spent with him than writing about him.  My other grandpa died only a few years ago and I still miss him and can't go there to write about him just yet either.

My girls love playing with Grandma Shirley's pretend candles!

This is the only pic grandma would allow since she wasn't fixed up :)