The face of cancer…

It’s been two very long months since the funeral.

Let me start off by saying that I do believe that my grandmother is at a better place now and that I am sure, that she feels painless and maybe even carefree. Maybe even happy. But then again maybe we just tell ourselves those little lies so we can cope better with the loss, who knows? I do miss her an awful lot and there is nothing in the world I’d rather do than talking to her. I wish I could pick up the phone, dial her number and hear her surprised voice, when she recognizes me. I wish I could ask her how she was doing and ask her if I could stop by for a coffee and a chat. And she would instantly say yes and tell me to come on over when ever I feel like it.

I wish I could do that right now, head to my grandmother’s that is. Only now she is not there anymore, now it’s my grandfather’s home. Don’t get me wrong, it has always been his home as well but somehow, even when we went to see him, we would always say ‘let’s stop by at Omi’s’. Now I can’t say that anymore, not without a feeling of emptiness anyways.

All the stories she told me over the years, all the funny little moments, all our shared moments come rushing back to me, every now and then and it makes me sad and vulnerable, but most of all empty. I wish she was still here with me, still talking to me, laughing with me, I wish I could feel her tight hugs and her soft kisses. But those little things are only memories now.

Like every person in pain I try to find something to blame. Something I can get angry about, something to destroy, something to make me feel better again. But the truth is, there is nothing to be angry about and nothing to blame. People die, either because they are old, they had an accident or they get sick. That is natural and everybody needs to learn how to deal with it.

Up to a few years ago cancer to me was another sickness humanity couldn’t cure. I couldn’t relate to it, it was something very distant, something that didn’t bother me. It was kind of like ‘someone else’s problem – let them deal with it’. Now I have my very own face of cancer, I have my grandmother. I still wish that there was something I could have done for my grandmother but the truth is, there was nothing. I know that, I just don’t want to believe it.

Now it is up to me to tell her story, the story of my grandmother, so her face will be remembered among all the souls who have and had to fight cancer. So maybe, one day we can find a cure, maybe one day we can help and make it better, maybe one day.

But for now, my most favorite story of my grandmother:

She was only 4 or 5 years old when her mom sent her to the convenience store around the corner to get a kilogram of coffee. So, my little grandmother walked in and ordered the coffee. The cashier-lady went into the other room to get the order, leaving my grandmother alone in the front store. My grandma waited patiently but right in front of her on the cashier counter, was a big pile of chocolate pieces on display and although my grandmother knew, she couldn’t afford to buy a piece, she still reached for one and quickly put it in her mouth before the cashier came back. After that my grandma received the coffee and put it in her bag, she paid for the coffee and was ready to leave, but before she left, the cashier looked her in her blue eyes and said, ‘I know that you took a piece. For now you are off the hook but don’t do that again.’ My grandma ran home as quickly as she could, never telling the story anyone.

But many years later, when she told me the story, she said, there was never a piece of chocolate that tasted that good.


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