My grandmother passed away last night. It doesn't feel real. She was a fighter, a survivor. Throughout her cancer battle, she had an amazing attitude that I tried to emulate.
I will always remember her as a grandma who let me eat my Rice Krispies with whole milk and sugar on top; who gave me exactly what I wanted for my birthday; who loved taking her grandchildren to Disney movies.
This past year gave me a new perspective on her. Through our similar circumstances, we became closer. We were each other's cancer confidantes and cheerleaders. She was so brave and determined. If attitude could cure cancer, she would be in remission now. Her final gift to me, better than any toy I'd longed for as a child, was her example of how to focus on what you can control, and ignore the rest.
A few months ago, she mentioned how delicious the hot chocolate at the cancer center tasted. Before each doctor's appointment or treatment, she would buy a cup of it. It was too hot to drink right away, so she would let it cool down during her appointment, thus having an indulgence waiting for her once she'd finished the unpleasantries of cancer treatment. She had managed to find and focus on the positive.
The term "survivor" connotes winning. Grandma may have lost her battle, but I believe she still won. She lives on both in heaven and in the hearts of her four children and their spouses, 11 grandchildren, six great grandchildren, second husband, and many friends.