For the past decade or so, my brave grandfather has battled cancer more than once. Each time, he emerged victorious and life, though it got a little harder, went on.
Unfortunately, once again he has to do battle with whatever evil forces created cancer. This time, it took up residence in his esophagus and while it certainly could be worse, it’s difficult not to worry given his other health problems.
He’s been through a lot the past few months and through it all, he has remained in remarkably good spirits.
That’s just the kind of guy he is. Sure, like any person suffering from sickness, the thought of wanting it all to end certainly invades the mind from time to time. But the will to fight through it all is what makes us special.
My grandpa and I have always been close. As some of you reading this might remember, I lived with him as I attended high school in Waterloo and during that time, he taught me an incredible amount about life that I’m only just now fully appreciating and realizing.
Every single friend I ever introduced to him absolutely loved him. He’s full of interesting stories and knowledge and is truly one of the most intelligent people I’ve had the pleasure of being around. Whether he knows it or not, I studied him and absorbed as much as I could.
And let me tell you that more than once in my life, that knowledge has paid off. For that, I thank him.
I know at some points in time I didn’t make it easy for him to help raise me. Heck, raising a teenager is tough, no matter if you’re 35 or 65. But given all the ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade in a single moment of it and I bet if you asked, neither would he.
As someone who was always fixing something or reading or working on a special project, he always found a way to keep himself busy. When his vision went downhill, that forced him to give up his hands-on mentality and it was hard to watch. But he persevered.
Now that he’s in an assisted-living home — a little more frail and a little older — he’s still the toughest guy I’ve ever known. He also has a heart of gold, even if it’s sometimes hidden by his health frustrations, which I think anyone would agree is more than understandable.
I wanted to use my column space this week to tell him that I love him, I believe in him, I’m thankful to have him in my life and most of all, I know that with the power of prayer and support from friends and family, he’ll get through this just like he always manages to do.
Stay strong, old man. I’m with you every step of the way.