Marsha Boyer, a grandmother and cancer survivor in Lansing, Michigan, recently sent me this note:
“I met both of my grandchildren at birth. They were wanted and loved by their parents and grandparents from the day we knew they were coming.
When my first grandchild was born, he lived two blocks away, and I could hardly stand to tear myself away after evening bath time. He spent so much time with us and filled our lives with joy.
But a week after his first birthday, I was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer.
My grandfather had died of influenza when I was two, and I have no memory of him. I decided that I was going to live long enough for my grandson to be able to remember me and how much I loved him.
By the time I started chemo, his family had moved to a town about 20 minutes away, but my daughter brought him to me several times a week. We walked and read and played, and on really bad days he would bring one of his books up to my bed and cuddle up to ‘read’ me his version.
After I recovered, we had him with us one day a week and often into the evening as my daughter worked on writing a program for the local university about building strong families. Those were wonderful times.
Now he is 13 and his sister is 10. I have had 12 years with them and the rest of my family that, at diagnosis, I feared I would not. They live an hour away now, but we are still enjoying one another’s company and love. We camp, vacation, attend sporting and musical events and sometimes just ‘hang out’ and play silly games or go to the pet store.
My grandchildren are the best medicine for whatever might ail me and I know they will have good memories of our time together. They are a joy—another opportunity to love unconditionally and just about the best things ever.
I truly think that having them around (along with the support of my children) enabled me to get past that difficult time and to laugh and love through it all.”