Celebrating my Grandmother on Father’s Day

Father’s Day is right around the corner. This will be a Father’s Day unlike any other. This weekend, my father will be sitting by his mother’s bedside in a palliative care wing.

In April, around the time of my 30th birthday, Grandma started to feel unwell. She was experiencing pain in her abdomen region. This is when waiting for tests and diagnosis began. Sometime later in April, the results came back and the diagnosis was made: bowel cancer that has spread to her liver. We then waited for her to see an Oncologist re: treatment. The family waited and waited for the appointment. Tuesday May 20th brought some disappointing news; the Oncologist gave Grandma zero options for treatment. We didn’t think that surgery was going to be an option but thought that *maybe* some form of chemo would be on the table. Nothing. Not even the choice to try something. The Oncologist gave Grandma 6-12 months to live.

The day after the difficult news, Grandma declared that she was going to prove the doctors wrong. I’ve been told that she had her best day in 2 months on that Wednesday (the day after the disappointing news from the Oncologist). Unfortunately, this did not last for long. That very night Grandma woke up in so much pain that she needed to be brought to the hospital. She was admitted and needed a significant increase of pain medication to experience relief. The next day, on our way to see Derek’s family for Memorial Day weekend, we visited Grandma in hospital. She had stabilized by that point re: pain and we had a lovely visit that I will cherish forever.

We spent the American May long weekend with Derek’s family (who we hadn’t seen since Christmas). With Grandma in hospital, we came back early on the Monday to spend the afternoon visiting with her. When we arrived at the hospital early afternoon, we were given the heart dropping news that Grandma had experienced a stroke that very morning.

The week of her stroke, I came to visit her every day. I’d drive to Belleville for work and then to Kingston to visit with Grandma (2+ hours of driving per day).  By the end of the week, she surprised me and started to make great improvements! She wasn’t sleeping as much and was eating again. Several people came to see her over that weekend and were blessed with great visits.

After being at Kingston General Hospital for 19 days, Grandma was moved to a palliative wing at St. Mary’s/Providence Care. That’s where she is today. Lord willing, that’s where my father will spend his Father’s Day. Next to the woman who gave him life. The woman who gave birth to one healthy baby boy when she could have had two (my father’s twin died in utero). The woman who had 4 children to care for + house + pastor’s wife duties. The woman who, even while sick in hospital, is constantly thinking of others. She would give up anything she possesses if you would like it. The woman who, when I accidentally bumped her hospital bed, said to me, “now what are we going to do about you?!” with a wink and a smile.

Grandma giving her first grandchild (me) a bath.
Grandma giving her first grandchild (me) a bath.

This Father’s Day will be unlike any other. The focus will be on my grandmother rather than my dad. But in a profound way, celebrating her is celebrating my dad.  She has played such a significant role in shaping my father to be the most loving, giving and committed dad that four daughters could ever ask for. We love you Dad!


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