Cancer: it destroys organs, normal lives, families. This disease, that we as a society know all too well, starts in our cells and ends with one less person in the annual Christmas card. Dealing with cancer is consumed with Chemo, hair loss, and white blood cell counts, but in some cases there is something more than just mutating cells.
I was four when my Grandma was first diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Her whole adult life, she was plagued with depression, only seeing the incorrect brush strokes of life’s big picture. But cancer changed her. I grew up seeing my grandmother enduring hours of chemotherapy and starting to regularly attend my church. With hair loss came losing the importance of utmost perfection in her life. When counting white blood cells, blessings were counted too. On her long and twisted journey to becoming a better person, the cancer was always there, lurking. But I think that was what pushed her forward.
Cancer often ends lives, but with my Grandma’s diagnosis she started a new one. Sometimes the darkest moments in our lives are the ones most needed. Cancer is horrible, scary and degrading, but as my Grandma used to always say ‘you can either laugh or cry’ and she laughed with a passion. This depressing, distressing, dismal disease can be either heartbreaking or heart-making.
Her journey ended, but she was glad to be able to have nine years to see her three granddaughters grow up and have the time to grow in her faith. When life sentences us with a last chance, it can be viewed as a second chance.
Published in Creative Communications Spring 2016 Essay Contest