My last post was about my grandpa’s surgery. In 2-3 hours the surgeon was to remove a mass of muscle from his stomach and repair a hernia that hadn’t healed right after his last surgery. About four hours after they took him back, we got the call and my mom and grandma went to meet with the doctor. Things went differently than planned when they opened my grandpa up, he told them. Instead of tackling the stomach and the hernia, the could only remove the cancer that was in his stomach, liver, and esophagus.
There it was.
In all of our visits, in all of the testing we had been through, there was no mention of cancer. My mom said it hit them both like a ton of bricks to hear it said so plainly. My grandma said the doctor looked bewildered that they didn’t already know. We have chalked it up to grace that we were given all of those extra weeks of blissful ignorance. They say you don’t have cancer until someone diagnoses you, it is so very true.
The last week has been a unique challenge. After he was stabilized in the hospital (and after he fell and deeply bruised his hip) we supported my grandma in her decision to put him in a care facility until he is strong enough to make it around the house. It broke our hearts to see my sweet grandma simply want to bring her husband home and make him comfortable. Around the house, there are countless signs of my grandpa’s systems, his love language was definitely acts of service, every little thing he did to care for all of us was laid out in detailed steps. He may not know who the president is or why he can’t come home but he sure knew how to make a mean pot of coffee for my grandma (he doesn’t drink coffee) and lay out her pills. In about a month we hope to bring him home with us again, stronger and healthier than when he left us. In a month, we will be happy to see him back to his old ways, grumbling and bustling around here as he sets everything out for the day.
Q and I will be married in a few weeks. As I watch my grandma and grandpa face this mountain, I am thankful for an example of what “Till Death Do Us Part” is really all about. For almost 10 years my grandma has been within earshot of my grandpa as his dimentia and anxiety has expanded. As she slipped out of the wife role, and into caregiver mode she has made almost every hour of her day to make him feel at ease. When he was in the hospital, all she wanted was to bring him back to where he is comfortable, even though it would have meant oodles more for her to do. Though he brings her to the brink of her sanity on a regular basis, she was the one sitting at his bedside last night, sifting through the vegetables they gave him so he would only have to eat his favorites. It is a level of love I strive for, it is love even after a decade of stormy weather.