This is what cancer does

This is what cancer does to you. It allows you to celebrate the opportunity to sit and rock a sick grandchild, not that you want to see him miserable, but because you can give him comfort until mom and dad are available. Thankfully, my work schedule allowed for this also, since the biggest thing on my radar since my diagnosis is my family.

When I picked up my youngest grandson from daycare, just after another bout of vomiting, the fact that I could comfort and calm him touched me. As I spent the rest of the afternoon gently rocking him, (comforting and guiding him through each subsequent spell of vomiting) and his older brother (who was recovering from the same virus), it wasn’t what I had expected from the day, but it was exactly where I was supposed to be at this time.

I thought back to the Christmas my own three children were sick and we spent the holiday secluded, playing Mancala until I thought my head would burst. As I wondered if I could teach my 4-year-old grandson the same game his mommy played that awful Christmas, I soaked in every ounce of my two grandsons nestled against me, trusting that all would be well.

It’s hard to describe the joy I felt in being able to do this for my daughter and son-in-law. The privilege of taking care of someone you love deeply, multiplies immensely after you have been seriously ill yourself. Yes, I will spend the weekend drowning in chicken soup and crackers in a vain attempt to ward off hosting this nasty virus, but I don’t care.

I was able to give a priceless gift to my grandsons (and daughter and son-in-law), which strengthens the bonds we have already forged. There are no words to describe this, no value given, of such a privilege.

This is what cancer does to you. It opens your eyes to many overlooked privileges of life, as obscure as rocking a sick child. It points out the truly important aspects of life, none of which are as we thought in healthier days.

It highlights the reaction of that sick child, startled out of sleep by a ringing phone, flapping with excitement, only to hear the nurse on the other end tell you the latest scans show No Evidence of Disease. This is what cancer does to you.