When I was 8, my grandfather was diagnosed with a skin cancer called malignant melanoma, By the time they found it, it had already metastasized in other places and the outlook was not so promising. I remember him being sick, and sometimes he was all there…other times he was not.
I don’t remember a whole lot of the bad stuff, but I remember shortly before he passed away, he gave Mom some money to “go buy the kids something.” So we went to Walgreens and another store. I got a pair of shoes that I loved and a mini Christmas tree (20 years later, I still put it up religiously). My brother also got a mini Christmas tree and something else.
I also remember the day that he died. We were at the hospital. I hugged him. He told me he loved me. He used to call me Christinie Christinie Jelliebeanie (which is why I occasionally use the pseudonym Jelliebean and why Penny calls me Bean). We went home to the house, with the intention to return. My uncle called and told us that he would be gone before we came back. But we had said our goodbyes, so it was okay. I remember it being sad, but I don’t think I cried. I didn’t cry a whole lot then. I guess that in my adulthood, I’ve made up for my lack of childhood tears.
At my grandfather’s wake, tons of people showed up. I was a kid, and there was a play area. So I wanted to play. I didn’t quite realize what was going on. When my school pals showed up with their moms, I would ask if they wanted to play with me, but the moms would all look at me funny, and say that they were just there for a short time and needed to pay their respects. I just wanted to eat cookies and play with toys.
Of course, the day of the funeral came, and I remember my older cousin Jennifer crying a lot. I didn’t understand. I realized then that I should be crying too. So I tried to cry. But I couldn’t. So I just sat there with her. Wishing I could cry.
Yup; cancer sucks.
Last night, my Chicago Bears (and those pesky Dallas Cowboys) were the first to sport their pink shoes and accessories to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness…Yes, that’s right, you’re about to get splashed hard with the pink bug. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A disease that my family knows all too well. My sister (who, by blood, is actually my dad’s cousin’s daughter) recently had most of her lady parts removed because she has the breast cancer gene. Her mother, her grandmother, her aunts, her cousins–all my family, too–have been affected.
Now, it’s on both sides of my family. Fucking breast cancer.
Today, I’m asking the blogosphere to send out good Juju to my family. Whatever works for you is happily accepted here. Prayers, thoughts, well-wishes, good juju. From the bottom of my heart, thanks.