Do you know those moments when you’ve just gotten really bad news and you don’t know what to do with yourself? I’m currently having one of those moments. I’ve tried to work and been so distracted that I gave up so I decided to watch series but I have no idea what I just watched so I decided to mess around on the internet but then I didn’t know where to even start so I found myself back here. Writing.
As far back as I can remember, writing has brought me a sense of calm. Like a safe harbour from the storm. A place my mind can just let go and think okay – you’ve got this. You can just let go. I fall apart on the page, allowing me to maintain some sort of calm in real life. writing has some sort of secret power for me. It gives me the ability to be a superhero. To carry on with my day without breaking a sweat even though everything is a total and complete mess.
At this point, I suppose you’re wondering what I’m on about. So, in the spirit of open and honest writing I’m going to share it with you; my delightful readers who I know can handle a not so happy and deeply personal post. After all, isn’t that what my entire blog is about. Not having to pretend the world is fine when it’s literally falling apart?
The bad news
I little while ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. It was in his spine and they had to do a biopsy to find out a bit more. I knew it wouldn’t be good news but it’s important to always be positive. Well, yesterday the results came back and today I got a call that has thrown everything into a tailspin. He has been given up to a month to live.
30 days. Maybe 31 days? 4 weeks! 4 Mondays, 4 Tuesdays, 4 Wednesdays, 4 Thursdays, 4 Fridays, 4 Saturdays, 4 Sundays. Maybe 5. And there’s no guarantee he will even last the full month. If we’re being totally honest with each other. I suppose it depends. I struggled in this moment to be sure that my maths is correct. I’m still not certain so please don’t judge me if I’ve gotten things wrong. I’m usually such a perfectionist but today, I’m writing to pass the time between my sobbing. I’m writing to remind myself that this is a part of life. We all live and we all die and it’s just a natural state of affairs. And yet, somehow, it still doesn’t make sense to me today.
I’m 6 weeks away from having my baby. He could come anytime between now and then. On the weekend I will make the trip down to visit my grandfather – for the last time. I hope he will last until then. My dreams of him meeting my son are slowly drifting out the window. Now, instead, I have to focus on my last visit to him. On knowing he felt Oden kick in my tummy and at least, that’s something. My son, who is named in honour of this man. Christopher, the first in our family. Oden Christopher, in his honour. A man he will never meet.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
― Shannon L. Alder
A man who changed the course of my life. Who has been the pillar of my family and supported all of us through so much. Through everything. Without asking for anything in return.
My grandfather, who took me into his home at age 3 and accepted that I was now one of his. A man who raised me, even when he had a troop of his own to his name. Who fetched me every single day from school for most of my primary school years. Who carried me to my bed when I pretended to fall asleep on the couch while watching TV. Who nursed me through sick nights and drove me up and down to Drs, to sports events, to play dates. Who taught me how to drive and who always told me the truth – when no one else would.
My gramps, a man who taught me to live with integrity and honesty. A man who told me that all I have is my word and if my word is dishonest then I have nothing. Who showed me that compassion and kindness are to be given freely. This man, taught me the value of money, of watching the pennies so that the pounds take care of themselves.
He taught me to always value my family above all else. He watched me graduate from University, beaming proudly over the education that I had, that he always pushed for, that he himself had never had.
And because my dad couldn’t, he walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, handing me over to my husband with a nervous laugh. Looking back, I’m not sure who was more nervous walking down that aisle, me or him.
My grampy taught me to always be the leader. “Be the head and never the tail” he would say. He taught me many things. Losing him is going to be one of the most difficult and trying times in my life.
He sang this song to me, for most of my life until he decided I was too old for it;
“Joni my darling I love you,
love you with all of my heart.
Beautiful beautiful Joni,
I love my Joni very much”
…..I wanted to tell you that I probably wouldn’t be posting as regularly as usual over the next little while. I’m sure you can see why and I know you will forgive me for my silence.