So. I just learned today that my grandmother has Stage 3 ovarian cancer, and has six months to live. I don't know what else to say, but to say that I finally understand what love is: commitment, bravery, and faith.
It's a funny thing. My grandpa kissed my grandma twice and told her to "Take that to the bank." He's a funny guy.
But I watched them talk. I could see my grandpa and grandmother have a look in their eyes. They both saw fate, and yet they held hands and worked together to approach that fate. Somehow, something I've rarely seen happened: despite my grandmother being less aware and having dementia, she smiled. Her smile stretched farther than a rainbow across the sky.
It was like I could see past her frail old self and see some type of youth. Her past life shone. It was like death wasn't apparent to her. She accepted it, but then her face lighted up. I can't fathom it, truly. Death didn't scare her. She had her husband by her side, and she sat there, with signs of strength in her week body.
Just imagine, many years ago. It's the year 1940. My grandpa had been born 5 years prior. World War II was near it's beginning. My grandmother was just born under FDR's presidency and in the worst financial crisis the world had ever seen. She was married years later to an abusive man and had several children. She was hit by a car and burned severly. However, she healed. She left that abusive man and found my grandfather, Harold. Harold and Bonita became very close.
Harold was born in 1935 in the month of November. He grew up as a poor boy with a careless father and a strict mother. During the depression he worked on a farm, going to school, and once he graduated high school, raised enough money to get into college. He got a degree in History. Afterwords he worked in the United States Air Force as a man who handled secret messages. During this time Marvel comics was in it's hayday, Kennedy and Johnson were President, and the Vietnam War was raging. Then he met my grandmother.
They got married and had a single daughter, Bonnie Jean. My grandpa became a pastor, and then a reverend. He founded a ministry based on preaching at nursing homes. My grandmother focused on raising my mother, and they depended on very little money and conservative values to keep themselves healthy and strong.
My grandfather became a mayor in the year of 1985. He raised a town from it's very small stature to a thriving small city. He expertly restored their water, had many parks built, found the funding for many festivities, and managed to bring happiness to the small town during the recession in the 2000's.
My grandmother, however, had a very different path. Her health started to decline to the point where she got dementia. She was bed-ridden, with my grandpa and my family having to take care of her.
I never knew my grandmother too well before her dementia. She got it relatively early in my life. And yet, when she learned of her cancer, I finally saw the woman I missed out most of my life. A woman who assisted a hard-working man find the true American dream. I saw it. I saw the eyes of a woman without fear.
My grandmother has cancer. But she doesn't care. Nor does my grandpa. They've lived life to the fullest. They've achieved the American dream, the very thing our very flag promises with it's white stars spangled across a sea of blue and it's 13 revolutionary stripes. They have no fear.
A life well spent.
Now I have to assist my grandmother for the next six months while she stays in hospice. And gosh darnit, I'm going to make it the best final days a person could ever have.