It had been a hard six months. I still remember the results coming in. Stage 4 stomach cancer, also present in the liver and other organs. My grandfather was a kind man. We each processed the diagnosis differently. Hope, despair, acceptance, and anger were a few of the emotions we cycled through.
Loss changes us.
My focus was no longer on my business. I changed, I was now a caregiver. We all changed. I finally understood how much this man meant to me. I had lost my other grandfather to bone cancer when I was nine. I did not understand then; I do now. My grandfather’s last lesson to me was one about significance. It was clear that there was no chance of recovery. All that could be done was to be present. To care for him, to listen. This man had helped raise me. He had shaped me, loved and cared for me. He was there as I became a father, much of his love shaped the father I would become. I was powerless against his illness.
Powerless against cancer.
I made a mistake. I was lucky I realized quickly. I was powerless against cancer but I had power. I could not heal him, sadly no one could. I focused on what I could do. I could be there. I could carry him, listen to him, play his favorite songs. I could hold him. I did, to his very final breath, I held him. If you are faced with the imminent loss of a loved one; please focus on what you can do. Yes, it is hard but do it.
He was significant.
To me, he was the world. To others he was unforgettable. A man that had dedicated himself to the service of others. He made them smile, he listened, he worked, he lived. Sadness, grief, denial and the certainty that I would never see him again. There was no other path. I dug deep and made peace with the fact that he was gone. He had left but he left so much behind. He left me behind and in myself, I found so many of his things.
Sharing our loved ones with the world.
Losing a loved one is earth-shattering, life-altering and permanent. Unfortunately; loss is a part of life. What we cannot and should not lose is what they left behind. Through us, they remain eternal. As we share what we have become with the world. As we share ourselves and live our own lives we share them with the world. As we love others and lead lives of significance we honor their life.
We move on but never forget.
With time it gets easier. We accept that they are gone. We never forget them. How could we? They are a part of who we are. We focus on what is and remember what was. We use what they thought us and build upon the persons they helped us become. In their honor, we try to be the best versions of ourselves.