When my mother went back to college when I was eight, both my grandparents stepped in to help out. Being raise by four parents is something I would highly suggest for anyone. My grandfather stepped into the role of father many times, and even helping me learn my dance routines. He'd even get me up early before school and take me to the local diner for hot chocolate while he had coffee and talk to the locals. My grandfather went to every birthday, every recital or concert, and every major event in my life including my college graduation. January of my senior year, right after christmas, my grandfather was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer. He'd fallen at work and demanded the doctors look harder because the tumor they hadn't discovered yet felt "like a broken rib" even though they persisted nothing was coming up on the x-rays. We'd hoped this was a miracle, that we'd caught the cancer in time, and as the chemotherapy failed to help he was due to start a rigorous treatment in May. He refused such treatment that would make him ill until after my graduation, and came to all the Alumni family picnics the school offered with me. After I graduated I spent my time with my grandmother, toting her to and from the hospital, doing all her little errands with her, and not once was I nervous visiting "Papa" as sick as he got, because he remained himself. You could hear nurses laughing down the hall as the rolled him back to the room, he followed doctors orders to a tee, and was able to answer all his medical questions no matter how they filled him with pain killers. The morning of Sunday, July 14th, my grandfather passed away. He'd slipped into a coma, and we all rushed by his side, sharing stories, and pronouncing our love for him, we aided him for the final time as he left this world. Papa was my role model, my hero, even until his last breath. He never once cried or got discouraged, he always remained hopeful, even as the doctors talked about him not having a treatment work effectively and the caution that comes with that. At his services, I read a eulogy I'd written in his honor, because although Papa had passed away, I knew he'd never be gone because he is such a huge part of me. I had another christmas with him, another father's day, and all the sumer months I could with him. He fought everyday for me to be able to have peace of mind, a gift I never got to thank him for, so for his Eulogy, I didn't cry, he wouldn't have wanted that, rather I remained strong to make him proud although I will miss him until we meet again. I imagine where he went he's being reunited with his grandfather and all the family he had before the generation s that came before me. I know in my heart Papa truly never wanted to get old, and that he'd regret leaving my grandmother behind, but when cancer took his cycling season, it took away his fun. I always loved riding on the back of his motorcycle, seeing what we could see, meeting whomever all summer long. My grandfather was a friendly free spirit who let his actions do his talking, even until his last days, which is what he would have wanted. He'll always be remembered as a sharp, funny, strong, young individual who was taken too soon by cancer, but I know in my heart he wanted his ending to be of quality and it absolutely was, despite all the obstacles thrown his way. I encourage my generation to spend quality time with and to respect their elders, because they've forgotten more in their lifetime then you've even learned yet. My grandfather lived life to the fullest, loved often, and was intolerant to injustices. Taking that with me as I move forward in life I'm learning to view as a great privilege at a heavy cost, and to know it's better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all has new meaning to me. Rather, I gained through love, and lost to a tough battle with cancer, but knowing he was happy and "all there" right to the last minute, is more then what he could have asked for. I hope that there is a silver lining to everyone's grey cloud, and I hope hearing mine, helps you cherish what you do have, even when finding things to be grateful for and the courage to move forward seems impossible.
Submitted by Anonymous
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