||[Nov. 28th, 2002|11:47 pm]
|||||Ben Folds Five - Golden Slumbers||]|
So. Today at the big family thanksgiving dinner, we found out that my grandfather's cancer has returned, this time in his lungs. I can only assume it migrated rather than appeared separately, because he hasn't smoked for probably ten years, at least.
Anyway. They're doing tests soon to see if it's actually cancer - they've only got the CAT scan so far - and then begin chemotherapy if necessary, which it likely will be.
This all seems almost unreal to me. Part of me figured Grandpa would live forever, and at the very least long enough to see my children. He's always seemed so strong - he's 6'3", which is taller than me, which no one else in my family (other than a few cousins) is. He seemed to me like a pillar of strength, not necessarily physical, but of spirit and belief. It's hard to imagine him being brought down by an illness. He's had hospital stays before - he was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, but they thought it had been eradicated - but I never saw him in his hospital bed, never weak. Perhaps that's part of the reason I just can't seem to accept this. And part of me still says that he'll fight through this and live and go on with life. I do hope so.
He's 75 right now. His father lived to be 86, I think. I barely remember him, but I remember when he was there.
I give thanks that he's survived to see all of his grandchildren grow up, at least part of the way so far. I give thanks that he's always been here for me, and that he helped form my father into the man he is, and by extension me. I give thanks that his paternal presence, his influence, is so strong that the entire family assembles around him - I have had my cousins and aunts and uncles within easy reach for so much of his life, and this is because he made our family so strong.
I give thanks that so much of our family remains healthy, and that we all have such care for each other, and for those of us who are affected by sickness and the tragedies of life. I give thanks that today I could see them again, and I give thanks for the memories of my grandmother who remains with us truly in spirit, even after four years. Of course we have to keep the family together - it would disappoint her so much to see otherwise.
I give thanks for my friends, who support me in difficult times. I give thanks for love, without the power of which I could never have survived these past four years. I give thanks that I am so fortunate as to be able to eat every day, and have warm clothes and a warm bed and a good education and the opportunities to make something of my life. I give thanks that I live in a country where I can go to sleep at night and feel secure that I won't wake up to the sound of gunfire and artillery. I give thanks that there are people spending their lives - giving their lives - to make sure this is true.
I give thanks for the little things, like the fact that my nose has stopped bleeding and that my sister just brought me eggnog. I give thanks for the beautiful smile on my friend's face, and the fact that it can appear so often, and that it always brightens my day.
I give thanks for the soothing taste of chocolate and the energizing effects of caffeine and the happiness that my favorite songs bring me.
I give thanks for the vast universe of stars, and their reminder that we are nothing to the universe - for it means that we must be everything to each other.
I give thanks for the tears that sometimes flow - for without them, the wonderful, joy-bringing things in life would hold less meaning.
I give thanks for life - for the lives of others, and for my own life and the fact that fate allows it to continue.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.