On March 2nd, 2019, I lost my grandfather to cancer. The type of cancer my grandfather had was Small Cell Lung Cancer. This form of lung cancer is the most aggressive form where it tends to metastasize very quickly in the body.
When we had first heard of this diagnosis, we were all devastated. We had never dealt with cancer like this before within our immediate family and this was a big shock to us all.
Fast forward a few months. Things seemed like they were getting better. Sure, he may have had stage four lung cancer that traveled to the brain, yet he seemed to be responding to treatments. He had made it to his 70th birthday when the odds were against him. I remember seeing the smile he had and feeling his warm embrace when I finally got to see him after being at school for months. Then, somewhere down the line, things got progressively worse.
Fast forward to December. I remember my mother calling me upset while I was at work because my grandfather had to get multiple blood transfusions. I remember my mother months later being upset, yet not wanting to tell me while I was at school since my grandfather always put such a value on education. I remember finding out about the progression. It went from needing some support to walk, all the way to having hospice care set up in his home.
I just remember the anger. The sadness. The late nights staying up thinking, "Why our family? Why now?" I remember the phone call a few weeks prior to seeing him for the last time. He was a little forgetful and not very responsive on our call. The once joyful, always happy person who was eager to hear about my academics, was giving me one-worded responses.
Fast forward to March. We ended up sleeping over at my grandfather's house in fear of what would happen if we left. As I stepped into the room where his hospice bed was set up, reality came at me full force. My once upbeat, loved to fish, active softball player Grandfather was this tiny, unresponsive human laying in the bed. I recall in the middle of the night they had to emergency order machines for him. I remember the next morning staying in the room with him while the hospice nurse was telling my family that he had mottling and his limbs were cold, all signs of death.
I remember the call my mother got when she had realized that when we had left to go home and shower he died shortly afterward and she wasn't there for it.
They say that losing a loved one to disease makes it easier to cope with because you know that death could possibly be coming. I would disagree. Because in the end, I still have regrets. I wish I would've taken the days off work to see him while my family went. I wish I would have called more to tell him how much I loved and appreciated him. I wish there were words of comfort I could have given my mother to soothe her, especially because she was a "daddy's girl." In the end, I just have to accept the fact that he knew he was loved and he is no longer in pain or suffering.
This is why losing a loved one to cancer is the worst pain to endure.