08 December 2006

Grandpa's Heart

My Grandpa is almost 85 years old.  He's a strong man who has only recently started to slow down a little.  He's never been sick that I can remember.  I'm sure he's had a cold or two along the way, but I don't remember Grandpa ever being sick. 

Grandpa has had prostate cancer for several years, but it was non-invasive (whatever that is supposed to mean), and it wasn't spreading.  They were able to keep it "under control" by giving him some kind of shot once a month.  He has been doing this for years.  I remember him having to go for his monthly appointments long before my grandmother passed away, which was in January of 2002, so it seemed like he was going to be okay forever.  He's my big, strong grandpa, afterall.

Today I met my mom for lunch, and that is when she told me that Grandpa's cancer has spread.  He hasn't shared many more details than that yet because it's all very fresh news.  We don't know how much it has spread or exactly what treatments he'll be getting.  He is going to the local hospital to set up a treatment plan some time within the next few weeks.  I'm hoping that means that the cancer isn't spreading rapidly.  It seems like giving him a few weeks to set up the treatments isn't a normal practice where cancer is concerned.

It's very difficult for me to think about anything happening to my grandfather.  He is such a strong man because he's been through so much.  He's lived a long, rough life.  He didn't have a good childhood.  He fought in World War II and returned home to a life of alcoholism.  He married my grandmother when she was sixteen and pregnant, and they began their lives together raising a total of 10 children.  They were never anything but poor with that many children in the house, and sometimes, as was the case with my dad, another relative sometimes stepped in to raise one of the kids for a while to help out.

Sometime in the mid-1960s, Grandpa sobered up.  He became the County Engineer and worked that job until his retirement, which was somewhere around 1986 or so.  I remember that I was 10 or 11, and Grandma and Grandpa moved into the house next door to us. 

We lived next door to Grandma and Grandpa for over three years, and during that time I saw my grandparents every day.  I would go next door to chat or play a game or just to watch t.v.   I sometimes spent the night just for fun.  When I think about it now, it seems kind of silly since my own bed was right next door, but I always had fun staying at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Oh...I have to backtrack here.  Until I was 9, we didn't live in Coshocton County.  We lived in Toledo and then in Michigan for a while before settling in Coshocton.  During the summer, I had the privilege of spending a couple of weeks with my grandparents, and they always planned it so that Grandpa was on vacation at least one of the weeks while I was there.  We went camping along the river and spent our days fishing and playing games.  Those memories are so sweet and precious to me.  I remember trying to sleep in the camper while a storm raged (or so it seemed to my 7 year old self) outside.  Grandpa came and sat with me and turned on the radio.  We listened to a baseball game together.  I don't even know if my grandfather is a baseball fan, but it definitely helped get my  mind off the storm!

I have lots of great memories with my grandfather.  He's the only grandparent I have left.  Please pray for my grandfather.  If it is God's will to heal him, then it will be a blessing for our family to have more time to spend with him, but that isn't nearly as important as his heart.  Grandpa does not know Jesus.  I've told him about him, and I know that others have as well, but he has made it very clear that he is not interested in God for one reason or another.  Please pray for my grandfather's salvation during this time.  I would love to see my Grandpa worshipping my Jesus right next to me when I get to Heaven.

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