Today is April 29th ... on this day 6 years ago my grandpa lost his battle to cancer.
He had a long battle (4 years) but we only know about it for 4 months. In 4 months he went from a healthy, strong man to bed ridden and unable to speak. Cancer literally sucks - it sucks the life right out of people.
He was my hero - the greatest man I had ever know. He was a teacher and a principal and was very good at what he did. As a kid, I was very lucky to go to a school in the district he had retired from (he retired when I was born). Many of my teachers were hired by him and they were all amazing teachers. When he died I was in college - to become a teacher. The semester after he died I walked into the first day of class (late - because the class time changed and I didn't find out until that morning) and my teacher was annoyed that I was late. She told me that class starts at 8:00 and I need to be there then. She told me to sign in and make myself a name tag for my table. I apologized then did what she said. I put up my name tag then started getting caught up by my classmates (I was in a cohort so I knew everyone in the class). Out of the corner of my eye I saw her looking at my name, she checked the class list, smiled then stared happily at my name tag. It is hard to describe but I will never forget it. She walked up to me, smiling, and said, "This may sound crazy but I just have to know, Do you know ____?" I told her yes and that he is ... was my grandpa. She told me that she was so sorry to hear that he had passed. Then her eyes were full of hope and she told me that he was her first principal and he had made such an impact on her. During that semester she would write notes on my papers like "Your grandpa would be proud" and "You have your grandpa's compassion (or other trait)." She inspired me just like my grandpa had inspired her.
People would tell me that it gets easier. They didn't know I was crying myself to sleep every night. They didn't know how hard it was for me to get out of bed in the morning. It doesn't get easier - you just get used to the pain. You get used to them not being there - you don't miss them any less.
A few weeks after he died Michael and I walked the Komen Race for the Cure - my grandpa didn't have breast cancer but once they find a cure for breast cancer it will be a big step for all cancer (at least I hope it will). We have walked every year since and are walking again this year. My class did a coin drive two years ago that melted my heart - we raised $150 (they brought $75 in coins and I matched it)! When the class tried to decide who to donate it to - they couldn't choose and we donated $50 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, $50 to the children's receiving home, and $50 to a local homeless shelter (it was their idea to split up the money). It was such a positive thing in honor of such a sad event.
So, here I am six years later still sad but trying to focus on the positive. I clean when I am upset and my house really needs it, so I will distract myself from the past with cleaning. I also bake when I am upset (I know - weird, right?) so I might do a little of that also.
Hope today is not as sad for all of you. What do you do to honor loved ones?