Posted by: soulshinemoments | June 7, 2013

Living

“Olivia, can you come back here?” Gramps asked me yesterday as we were sitting in the waiting room of the Lung Cancer section of the hospital. Gramps was leaning against his walker with his Om shirt on and a slight smile on his face.  I asked Ariel to watch my backpack and quickly hurried to meet him in the hallway.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“The doctor has good news and I want a second set of ears to hear it with me. The tumor has shrunk significantly in my lung!”

I beamed, incredulously.

He had tears in his eyes.

We walked back together to the waiting room. As we waited to hear from the doctor, we had a long conversation. He described more profoundly about the final hours of my father’s life (who passed away in October).  He said that my step-mom was the only one in the room with my dad when he actually passed away and that he died in her arms.  Before my dad had passed away, he had kept begging everyone for a root beer. We were told not to give him any more fluid because at that point he was on a g-tube and it kept popping out of his gut. Any liquid he would consume would go straight to that tube which would then pop out and have to be replaced by the hospice nurses (which was also incredibly painful for him). But, he wanted that root beer so bad. The last time I saw my dad was on a Monday and he passed away that following Wednesday evening. Monday afternoon when Jack, Jackson, Ariel, and I left him and said our final good-byes, his last request to me was to bring him a root beer. We were given strict orders not to do that, but can you imagine how difficult it is to turn down my dying father? Jack and I kept giving each other questioning glances about what to do. We finally decided upon not doing it. We weren’t the ones that would be cleaning up the stomach fluids mixed with soda after the tube would have popped out. My grandfather told me that he and my dad’s step-father decided to give him that root beer sometime after we left and before he passed away. Of course the tube popped out, but something about knowing his final request was honored, made me feel peaceful. I was glad to hear it.

The doctor came out and confirmed that the tumor in my grandpa’s lung has indeed shrunk from a half-dollar size to the size of a quarter.

My grandpa said with tears on the verge of bursting out of his eyes, “I try to stay unattached to the news of my health and come to terms with it, but as you can see, I can’t help but to be affected by this wonderful news.”

Afterwards, we went to a restaurant on the beach called Sandys. We sat outside as the storm was coming in. We were all feeling light and buzzing with the energy of life.

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Jack thinks my grandfather is “one cool m-f’er” (which he is). They are really bonding. My grandfather has so many wild stories. He’s traveled all of the world, read every book imaginable. He wrote for the St. Pete Times here in Florida and has met a ton of fascinating people. He’s a former marine for the Vietnam war. Jack says Jackson and I have one cool bloodline. I guess he’s right! I didn’t meet my grandfather until I was 19 when my dad was in the hospital for the second time. We had a 3 hour conversation about Christianity and Buddhism (I was a very much a strict, fundamental Christian at that point in my life and he considers himself a, and I quote, ‘Nudhist Budhist Deadhead’). He wrote me a letter a few weeks later after our conversation commenting on what an intelligent young lady I was and gave me a book entitled Living Buddha, Living Christ.(Great book. Need to re-read it.) With the exception of after Jackson was born, the only times I have seen my grandpa afterwards has only been in the hospital when my father was sick–which was still a good six times or so. It is just now that we are beginning to bond. I am so grateful for this gift of time I get with my grandpa.

(The following two pictures are of my grandpa when he was Jackson’s age. The similarities are striking!)

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