Column: Saying goodbye to grandpa


Bailey Boerman, Feature Editor

I’ve always thought goodbyes were hard. Frankly, does anyone find them easy? But it’s usually, “Goodbye, I’ll see you later.” Until it isn’t.

Last week I found out that my grandpa has stage four bone cancer. I’ve always been empathetic towards friends who have loved ones who are battling cancer, but I’ve never really experienced the feeling first hand until now. It’s intimidating. It’s frightening. But in a sense it also brings a feeling of closure.

Yesterday I went to visit my grandpa in the hospital. When I walked through the door he had the biggest smile on his face. He kept repeating “Life is good” over and over again. How could a man going through so much still be so optimistic? Maybe it was because my grandma snuck in a glass of wine for him …

That was the first time in a while that my family had spent a whole day together. Although we were mourning, I felt so close to everyone around me. My parents and sisters had their hearts open and did everything they could to comfort me. My Nana put exuded courage like she usually does when times get tough. We spent hours laughing and talking about old family memories while making new ones.

As it was time to say goodbye, I could see the sadness in his eyes. I leaned down to give him a hug, not knowing how many more we would be able to share. The whole day I tried my best to hold it together and to suppress the tears. Our hands were clenched as my head lay on his chest. I listened to his heartbeat like my favorite song on the radio. I closed my eyes and tried to take in as much of the moment as possible.

My tears began to trickle down onto his gown. My jaw was shaking and I began to mutter out a few words, “I love you and I don’t want you to ever forget that.” I could feel the weak grip of his fingertips around me. He repated the words back to me. The whole moment lasted nearly a minute but to me it felt like an eternity. It was something I will never forget.

Time had stopped for us to be together. I know I am going to see him again; whether it be in his hospital bed or up in Heaven, and I am looking forward to it. My grandpa will be my first angel when the time comes.