Thursday, October 24, 2013

Love and memories

The other day a few friends of mine shared this beautiful tribute that a man did for his wife as she battled (and eventually lost) her battle with cancer.  It showed her journey in pictures.  Against my better judgment (because I knew it would make me sad), I still looked at it.  I was hoping for a happy ending as I scrolled through the awful pictures showing her body deteriorate from the treatment and the disease, the last few of them showing her laughing and smiling, hoping that maybe it meant she was in remission.  But one of the last pictures showed an empty hospital bed, the next picture showing him in a car following the hearse and then the final one of her grave. 
October is a tough month for my family.  We lost my grandmother to cancer in 2000 after she battled the disease for years, eventually going to her resting place on Oct 17.  Her birthday is Halloween.  Her anniversary with my grandpa is today, Oct 24.  He's with her in heaven now, but watched him suffer, losing the only woman he ever loved and being so helpless along the way.  The night of her wake I sat there in the funeral home before the end, watching him kneel next to her casket and holding her hand not wanting to leave her. 
These pictures took me back to that time, to that time when we watched her be overtaken by this awful disease, leaving her only a shell of the strong woman she truly was inside.  It brought me back to when I was in 7th grade and we lost my Aunt Linda to ovarian cancer.  I remember all of those days so vividly even though my Aunt Linda has been gone almost 20  years now.  It all feels like yesterday.
In my office, one of my employees is now facing her own battle against cancer.  I just hate this disease so much.  It just isn't fair. 
If your heart can handle it, I would encourage you to view these pictures because no matter how tragic and sad it is, it also is a view of what true love is.  He stood by her through it all and obviously loved her so very much.  It shows just how powerful love can be even against something as terrible as cancer. 
It is weird to me because you'd think that missing my aunt and my grandma would get easier.  It's been 20 years since my aunt passed away.  But looking at these pictures and just thinking back to that day I found myself with tears welling in my eyes.  A day does not go by that I do not miss both of them.  I am not sure it ever does get easier.  I am reminded of it every October. 
I am proud that my Aubrey shares her middle name with my grandma, Leona.  I see parts of her when I watch Aubrey, especially the headstrong personality and beautiful heart. 
God bless you, grandma and Aunt Linda.  We miss you.  And God bless this man and his family.

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