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Today marks 20 years since my beloved Grandpa died of cancer. We only found out 3 weeks before he died that that was what was afflicting him. Lung cancer brought on by 40+ years of smoking, then it moved to his brain and adrenal glands.

We nursed him at home, which was a 2 min walk from our house.

I was the baby. He didn’t want me to see him in pain. So mostly he sent me out of the room. I spent a lot of the lead up to his death, and that Xmas, airing by myself in the lounge, drawing, while the test of the family hustled in and out if the bedroom where he lay.

He’d sign for me to walk to the local shops to buy him lemonade Popsicles. He didn’t always eat them, but it took me out of the house when his pain was great.

Whenever I could I’d sit with him, hold his hand, stare into his big green eyes. My own big green eyes trying not to cry too much. We were the only two with that colour. I still love that we shared that.

He didn’t want me to see him in pain. That hurt me more than seeing him in pain would have. It was lonely in the lounge.

We stayed there every day and into the evenings of each night for the last two weeks. I’d go home to eat dinner then head back. The evening he died I had gone home with some of my family then they had headed back before me. I think I stayed behind to bathe my aunts baby.

He died with them all there, gathered around him. Everyone but me. I believe that somehow he waited till I wasn’t there. When I arrived about half an hour later, he had gone. I felt so bereft, and so bad that I hadn’t been there. But I think he’d planned it that way.

Every year in the malls here at Christmas, one of the cancer hospices have trees and you can make a donation and receive a decoration to write on and hang on the tree. I do this every year for my Grandpa.

Today’s photo is of the trees where I hung Grandpa’s decoration today.

20 years today. I’m now 35, Grandpa. You would’ve been 85. I still miss you. I hope you are watching over me and that you will help my baby to come to me soon. Moe mai ra toku Papa.

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