January 16, 2013
It was April 30, 2011. I was on my way to Wal-Mart with my two boys, Hunter and Harper. Since it was a Saturday morning, we were going to spend the day doing some shopping and later on, Hunter and Harper were going to baseball practice. As I was driving down the road, suddenly, I heard the ringtone chiming on my cell phone. I answered it, I knew this call was coming eventually and I was dreading it very much. My dad was on the other end telling me to get to my grandfather’s house as soon as I could. I asked him if something happened to Pa, that’s what we all called my grandfather, and he said, “no, not yet but the hospice nurse just told me that it wouldn’t be long.” I told him I was on my way and I whirled my car around in Wal-Mart parking lot and took off to the farm.
My grandfather was a huge part of my life. He was actually more of a dad to me instead of a grandfather because he and my grandmother pretty much raised my brother and me. My mother died when I was little and dad was always working. I grew up helping him on the farm raising tobacco, cutting hay, gardening, doing carpentry and woodworking. He taught me values, respect and made sure we were in church every Sunday. Farming and church was my Pa’s life. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those were the good ole days.
Early in the year of 2010, I began to notice that something was amiss with Pa. He was a huge cut-up. He was always doing something to tease or aggravate you. When I would visit or take my boys to see him, he complained about his shoulder hurting really badly. He also slept more than usual and was very pale. I noticed that he didn’t eat like he used to. He was always an enormous eater. We all tried to convince him to go see a doctor but he was so stubborn and just thought it would pass. Finally, in October of 2010 he couldn’t bear the pain any longer. He made a trip to a chiropractor to see if he could do something about his aching shoulder. The chiropractor x-rayed his shoulder and immediately sent him to a medical doctor after telling him that he thought he had bone cancer.
I was sitting in the parking lot of Lincoln County Middle School waiting for Hunter to get out of basketball practice. I was having a terrible year. My marriage of 14 years was in the process of ending. Everything in my life was turned upside down at that point. I was sitting there thinking about what my next move was because I couldn’t afford to live in the home we were currently living in. I was thinking about all the details of my nasty divorce and the problems I was facing ahead when my cell phone rang. I looked at the screen and saw it was my dad. I answered and knew something was wrong when I heard his voice. He proceeded to tell me that he finally convinced Pa to go the chiropractor for his shoulder and the chiropractor sent him straight to his medical doctor because after viewing x-rays of his shoulder, he saw that he has bone cancer and it is stage 4. I asked him what that meant and he began to tell me that he could take radiation to prolong his life by a few months, but he had less than year to six months to live. After a few minutes of processing what my dad just told me, reality started sitting in and I realized that after I thought my life couldn’t get much worse that it just did. I was losing my marriage, my home, and now my grandpa. I immediately started sobbing uncontrollably. Some of the special moments I spent with my grandfather began to flash back into my memory. The stories he used to tell me, the times he would take us fishing, when we helped him on the farm, or the excitement he would display when he would watch Hunter and Harper play ball. Knowing that his life was almost over was heart...