Gramma has always been in good health. When I'm in my 80s I hope to have even half her spunk and vitality. She's got the typical ailments that tend to afflict the elderly: the aches, pains, coughs, etc. But all in all, she's in good shape. Until this summer, when she passed out on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night from internal bleeding.
Turns out that her problem was just a stomach ulcer that was aggravated (and possibly caused originally) by taking Aleeve for the pain in her back and legs so she could sleep. However, while in the hospital, her heart started causing trouble, and then they did more and more tests, and somehow found cancer in her colon.
So after a surgery a couple weeks ago, a portion of the colon was removed and we waited FOREVER for results from pathology. Well we got them. And apparently some of the cancer had already spread to the lymph nodes or something (I'm fuzzy on the details) and her cancer is "Stage 2" whatever that means.
Now we wait for a further consultation where my father, my aunt, and my Gramma can sit down with an oncologist and discuss the options... Quantity vs. quality of life and all that jazz.
Why am I having such a hard time with this?
I take after my Gramma. My dad and I were looking at old photos one day. He found one and held it up next to me. "When did you pose for this one, Nean?" he asked me. I looked at the photo of my grandmother in her early twenties. Seriously, you could have done my hair up the same and put me in that dress and it coulda been me.
I owe my fighting spirit, my sense of humor, my feistiness and my need to question everything to my Gramma. I owe my singing voice to her, my ability to harmonize and my love of all things musical to her. There are few memories of Gramma's house when I was a child which didn't include her humming or singing something under her breath.
She taught me to quilt and make cookies. She tried to teach me to sew (sorry, Gramma). She taught me the love of sitting down with a board game and passing hours just talking and enjoying the thrill of friendly competition.
She taught me that serving others means playing the part you're needed to play rather than the one you might want to play. I was 12 (I think) when I learned this lesson. The boys were all out "making hay" and I wanted to help. Thing is (and Gramma knew this) I couldn't lift the bales and I woulda just been in the way. The feminist inside of me wanted to show the boys I was every bit as good as they were... but Gramma insisted she needed my help in the kitchen. And without the water I ran out to the barn every time they came in with the next load, they would have likely passed out from heat exhaustion.
Now Gramma isn't without her faults. She's just like the rest of us. She's human. But she's my last remaining grandparent (aside from my in-laws) and she's always been there for me. She was my nurse when I had to stay home sick from school as a kid. I don't visit nearly as often as I should or I'd like to anymore, because life gets in the way, but she is always just a phone call away.
So... today is a sucky day. I'm thinking about Gramma and thinking the gray weather fits my mood. It's a great day for sleeping this afternoon; I don't know that I'm much good for novel-writing today. But maybe I'll give Gramma a call first, just to remind her that I love her. And because I still can.