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Archive for August 4th, 2009

Cowgirls Don’t Cry

My grandpa isn’t doing so well. About 30 years ago he had a massive heart attack and his heart was so bad that his doctor told him he didn’t think he’d live another six months. Then about four years ago, on my mom’s birthday, he had another massive heart attack that we didn’t think he’d make it through. He told the paramedics that they better not let him die today, because it was his daughter’s birthday. They could let him die tomorrow, but just not today. I remember hearing the news just after we landed from our trip to Ft. Lauderdale where we got engaged. The thought of my grandpa not being at my wedding sent me into hysterics. But, with help from a pacemaker/defibrillator, he made it.

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Now, doctors are saying things like “congestive heart failure” and “internal bleeding” and just yesterday, he took himself to the hospital for this upper respiratory infection he’s been fighting for the last several days only to find out that there is a “nodule” on his lung. And of course, we’re all thinking the same thing: Cancer. But we won’t know for sure unless he gets a biopsy done and he won’t do the biopsy until he talks to his doctor and he can’t talk to his doctor until the doctor comes back from his vacation later this week. And because of all of his other medications, he can’t take anything for this persistent cough except antibiotics so he just sits there, coughing, not sleeping, not even able to lay down, until his doctor gets back from vacation.

I’m trying hard to hold it together. We’ve already got enough emotional women in my family, we don’t need one more. But imagine if you were a daddy’s girl, and this was your dad. That’s what it feels like, it’s just that the “dad” in my life has always been my grandpa. He’s the reason I’ve never left St. Louis, no matter how much I’ve always wanted to move.

So now I just wait, feeling helpless. And I try not to cry but holding it in physically hurts in my throat and eyes and I just don’t know what to do except pray and throw myself into work. It doesn’t help that my grandpa isn’t very optimistic and says things like “I was really hoping to see my next birthday”¬†and I try not to let him hear the crack in my voice when I say “but it’s only a month away!”

I’ve been very fortunate to have so many of my grandparents around for all of my youth and a good chunk of my adulthood. I haven’t had to deal with much death, and certainly no one close to me. I’ve known just how lucky I am for quite some time now, and as morbid as it sounds, I’ve also realized just how much sadness awaits me in the future. Which is why, ever since Ryan and I got married, I’ve been willing the world to just stop, because I just didn’t know how long all this happiness would last. And of course, it’s never long enough.

So if you’re of the praying kind, please do me a favor and say a prayer for my grandpa. He means the world to me and I just can’t imagine my life without him. Thank you.

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