5 years ago today, the most beautiful cancer survivor in my world traded this world for heaven. I miss her like it was yesterday. She was my unconditional friend, my inspirational fighter, my grandmother. I never missed her more than I do now. I treasure every discussion we had, whether it was to gossip about the old bitties in her building, or to chat about my work. She was a fixture in my life. As her time started to fade, it scared me to watch her go. I couldn't imagine my world without her. I still can't imagine it sometimes.
We were very different people, but I do see some of her traits in me, especially now. I try so very much to rely on her legacy and the example she set. There are things in life that terrify you, but you can't let them stop you. Determination, a sense of humor and a brave face are necessary to battle a beast like cancer. I learned that by watching her fight for 15 or 20 years.
There was much living that happened from the time she was diagnosed until the time she was called back home. Grandchildren graduated from high school, college and grad school. Some of us got married. Great-grandchildren were born. Members of her family found their happiness. She continued to make the best macaroni soup. She even movedto a new home and started a new life for herself at the tender young age of 80. She became a biker chick at the age of 83. She colored Easter eggs until her last Easter. She still rolled her eyes when she heard the first few notes to "Grandma got run over by a Reindeer". When she was too weak in her last few days of life, she still enjoyed a beer.
She lived, she loved and she laughed.
There is a song by Gary Allen that always made me think of her and her battle, and these days, it makes me think of "our" battle: the one that she and I have in common, although we didn't have chance to share together. http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/allan-gary/life-aint-always-beautiful-16456.html
When you think of Gram, do what I do, remember her and smile.
No, life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride indeed.