Apologies for not being around much lately, but I’ve had some pressing issues to deal with.

About three months ago my grandmother was diagnosed with what was believed to be lung cancer. She was sent to Peter Mac Cancer Hospital in Melbourne, where after some treatment and tests, she was cleared and sent home, proudly telling the world she didn’t have cancer. This was just before Christmas, and understandably my family were elated to hear this. Unfortunately, this happiness was not to last.

My grandmother’s health continued to deteriorate, and she was soon taken back down to Melbourne for more tests and this time radiation therapy. It turned out the cancer she had then didn’t have was back (or had never disappeared in the first place), and was far more widespread and aggressive than first thought. We were told to expect to lose her within twelve months. She was sent back home to her town of Bairnsdale, but soon after was readmitted this time to Bairnsdale hospital, struggling to breathe. It is there that she remained right up until last Friday, when she finally could not keep fighting her illness. My grandmother passed away on Friday afternoon, aged 74.

While my family and I are inevitably upset about losing her, I reflect very fondly on the time spent with her. I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to spend 22 years of my life with her – that is a luxury many people do not get with their grandparents. I am also very fortunate to have been able to spend her last days with her. On Wednesday I was informed that her prognosis was not looking good, and my employer allowed me to take the rest of the week off to be with her. My siblings and I, along with my father and my grandfather (her husband of 55 years), spent most of the day on Thursday with her, laughing and joking with her. While it was upsetting to see her so ill, it was nice to spend some time with her and to let her know that we all loved her very dearly.

By Friday morning, she had been fully sedated, and we were informed that she would be kept in this state until she passed. The focus had been moved from treating her illness to simply numbing her pain – there was simply nothing more that could be done. We left her side around 11AM to return home to Melbourne, only to be informed that she had passed away before we made it back. The tears that inevitably followed were somewhat quelled by the knowledge that she was suffering no more, and that she would now be reunited with her son, my uncle, who died unexpectedly in a car accident back in 1993.

The picture of her (with my father) I have included is a shot taken about a year or two ago when she visited my family down in Geelong. This photo brings back some beautiful memories, as it was taken on the day she for the first time met her great-grandson. First meeting him was undoubtedly one of the happiest moments of her life, up there with becoming a mother and a grandmother. She was always a very caring and loving woman who absolutely adored her grandchildren, and treasured every moment with them (I can verify this first-hand).

So, to my grandmother, thankyou for everything you have done for me, and I hope that you know I have always loved you dearly, and will miss you greatly. May you now rest peacefully.