Fiction and Fantasy

When a Loved One Has Cancer



Added image and Editor’s Note update. Updated formatting to current blog standards.

Editor’s Note, 4/26/2024: This particular story does have a happy ending. My grandma beat her cancer and has been living cancer-free ever since. Very few days go by that I don’t thank God for the gift of being able to enjoy these days with her. Especially because I know that not all cancer battles end the same as hers.

To document the darkest part of her journey and for those just beginning their own journey with their loved ones, I wanted to leave this post up. I hope it brings some comfort to you if you’re feeling hurt and alone.

Cancer’s a war. Be strong and hold onto hope. Sending you much love and prayers.

Just when I say nothing serious is going on, I get some of the worst news you can get:

My grandmother has cancer.

It’s… odd going through the variety of emotions and stages that come from hearing news that big. It took me a good few hours to even digest the news enough to be sad. I just felt…

Honestly, those first few hours, I’m not sure what I felt. An eerie sense of peace? Peace really isn’t the right word, though. I guess it was more like closure. My grandma had gone in for a biopsy, but I don’t know if I believed it would end up being cancer or not. My dad and grandma were sure it was. I was on the fence.

Well, it was. And I guess part of me went, “Well, we know they were right.”

After those first few hours of wondering whether my grandma was going to refuse treatment like my grandpa (who died of Stage 4 lung cancer about six years ago)… that’s when the tears started coming.

You wonder why God’s letting this happen. You wonder how everyone’s going to make it through. You start to think about life without that person, and the things that highlights scares you to death.

I feel fortunate that I was at least here when my grandma got the news. When my grandpa was diagnosed, I was across the country in Washington state visiting my then-fiance. We were in a long-distance relationship, so this month-long stay was supposed to be the highlight of my year.

Not so much.

Now I know that being with a family member while they’re going through medical nightmares can be a nightmare all on its own. But for me, being apart from my family when they’re going through a challenge is torture. At least if I’m with them, I can offer my presence as the tiniest comfort and support. I wasn’t able to do that for my grandpa when he first heard the news.

The night my grandma found out, I couldn’t spend enough time with her, just sitting with her.

But every time I think of her now, I can’t help but wonder how much time I’ll have left to do that. Is that wrong? Is it morbid? Or can I use that to help me enjoy every last drop out of the time we’ve got left to love on each other this side of heaven?

I debated starting this post off by clarifying that my grandparents have both lived with my family since 2002. That we’re all close. But what does that matter? You went into this knowing that this post was about people we care about battling cancer. Does it matter how far away our family lives? Isn’t it just as painful no matter what?

It’s like I’d say to any other couple when I was in a long-distance relationship: It doesn’t matter how far away you are from them. It sucks just as much.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a parent or grandparent or friend. They’re dealing with this monster that brings all this fear and pain and misery. It doesn’t matter whether they live in the same house or a country apart: it hurts just as much.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

For Him, to Him


  1. That's such a heartbreaking experience. I can certainly relate to that as this happened to multiple relatives of mine even though you know part of the story about my paternal grandfather. Cherish every moment you have with your grandparents. I wish I could've done that more often in hindsight.

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Curtis. I'm so sorry you can relate to my experience. I certainly have taken your advice to heart and have been spending much more time with my grandma than I ever did even as a kid. It's been such a blessing.

  3. You're welcome. Those feelings have been lingering after the realization that I have no living grandparents left. I wished I could've done more even if it was just talking to them. Be thankful you're able to spend time with your grandma at anytime.

  4. That's such a painful situation to be in. At least we have the hope that we'll see them for eternity some day, but it's so painful in the meantime for those of us still on Earth. I am incredibly thankful for the time I have with all my family.

  5. It truly is. I have regrets for not being with them enough as they were here on this planet still. One time, I even cried as I wished I could've done other things or traded aspects of my life to bring them back once more even though I know it would never happen. I'm glad you're thankful that you have your family to spend time with.

  6. I'm so sorry. -hug-

  7. Don't apologize. It's not your fault. -hugs back-

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