Grandpa and I are sitting in the waiting room at the hospital. We’ve been here for 45 minutes, and the nurse has informed us that it will be 30 minutes more before he can even go into the room to start treatment. The room is cheerful, but not overly so, as if to say “this is a friendly room”, but not to ignore the fact that we’re here because Grandpa is really sick.
The center is family, and about a year ago, one of our young people introduced us to a man that she called “Grandpa”. While he was not related by blood, he had taken her under his wing and made sure that she was okay. They continue to have a familial relationship to this day. Both were estranged from their own families, so this relationship replaces those natural supports.
As we’ve gotten to know Grandpa, he has adopted all of us as his grandchildren. Most of our staff is of an age where we don’t have many grandparents left, sometimes family is the family that you choose. Then Grandpa found out he had lung cancer. After that, bone cancer.
Typically, folks have a lot of support to go through radiation and chemotherapy, but often times, when something bad happens, our community members have no one, and go through incredible trials all alone. We were determined that Grandpa would not experience this, after all, we promise to sit with you in the dark.
So, here we sit. Waiting. After the treatment is finished, the nurse will come in, hand me some paperwork, let us know that he will be tired and may not feel well. I’ll get the car, then we will try to find something that he feels like eating. Right now, he’s getting around well and is only a little tired, but we’re only at the beginning of this journey. That’s what building relationships really are- a journey with lots of rest stops, many in the dark.
If you would like to help support travel funds for Grandpa’s treatments, please click here and choose to give a monthly donation to keep us in gas and bus passes for his next challenge, chemotherapy.