Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Table Has Turned

My grandpa is sick.

It is not my place, nor is this an appropriate forum for me to talk about his medical diagnosis, but this blog is where I can share my thoughts about him, about life, and about the frustration of being so far away from someone I really care about.

That last part--the part about being far away from a loved one--didn't make a lot of sense to me the last few months.  When my medical issues started and I later received the dreaded cancer diagnosis, I was inundated with calls from family expressing their concern.  To be honest, I didn't want all the phone calls.  There wasn't anything that they could do to help me, and I didn't want to tell the same story twenty times a day.  I couldn't understand why, at a very stressful moment in my life, people kept calling me!  I had enough problems to deal with that I couldn't take conversations about other people's feelings any longer.

But now I understand.

I understand the helpless feeling that nags at me while I am enjoying my recovery here in NYC while my grandpa is in the middle of some really tough treatments.  I understand the frightening reality that I might not make it back to Utah in time to see him again.  I understand that when someone you love is sick, you want to be by their side.

Grandpa would be the first to say it, and I will certainly echo it, that he is not a perfect man.  I have no doubt that his pragmatic personality is quite matter-of-fact about his condition.  However, that doesn't stop me from caring, so I will do for him what others did best for me.  I will talk about the good times I had with him. When I was at my lowest point, the happy stories friends told me about their experiences with me made all the difference.  I didn't need to hear how sad people were for me, I needed to hear how happy people were that I was in their lives.

I don't know where to begin.  I could start at the beginning and talk about my earliest memory of him where he would take a towel in both hands and have me sit on it like a swing.  He would then lumber around the house swaying the towel side to side while singing a song about an elephant.  It seemed to me at the time that my grandpa was so strong for being so old.  In retrospect, he could have only been in his late forties at the time and not so old at all.

I could start at the most lasting memory of his continual service to friends and family.  Working side by side to take the day-old breads from a grocery store to a low-income neighborhood on Sunday mornings was a special treat to me.

Ultimately, I will share the stories as I feel the need to.  I know that the old man wouldn't want any extra attention, but that won't stop me from doing it because as his grandson, a little bit of that stubborn love has worked its way into my heart, and I love my grandpa.