I knew I had an amazing friend. I knew I had a cheerleader. I knew I had someone I could laugh with. I knew I had a travel companion. I knew I had someone who would call it like she sees it. What I didn't realize was that I had the best mentor long before I needed it.
Today would have been my grandmother's 89 birthday. She was the best! She taught me so much about life and about being independent. She taught me about hope, how at even in your 80s, you can experience good new things in life. She was a treasure to me. Tough as nails, yet delicate and precious as she grew more frail later in life.
I'll never forget one of the last things she said to me was that she is coming back as a guy because we women get the short end of the stick. Little did we know then that I too would end up with a "girly cancer". I wish I was smart enough to keep a note pad with me when I sat next to her bed in her last days. She was spry enough even in her last days that she could have told me all her best tips. But I didn't know that I would walk the path she walked. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret the time I spent with her. I soaked up every bit of joy that I could from her. I guess I just still wish she were here to tell me how to do this. I'm doing the best I can learning from her example.
You never know what it's like to undergo treatment until you do it yourself. Even watching someone you love with your whole heart doesn't give you a real clue. I pray that no one reading this experiences it. It's just not fun. It will be ok in the end. I know that, but the road it takes to get there is frustrating, bothersome and exhausting. About the only thing you can do is keep on walking, and take a nap when you need one. If you keep walking, and distract yourself in the meantime, you make progress without realizing it. For the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.