Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Big sigh.

It's been a while, hasn't it?

Here's the thing. I've been busy with work, have had a lot on my mind and have been a wee bit stressed out lately. (But don't go feeling sorry for me... I'm okay, really I am. It's my hubster I'm worried about).

So Andrew's Dad has cancer. It started two years ago, in his kidney.

Unfortunately, it's been spreading. And some of the medications haven't been working. Fast forward to today, and he's in the hospital, not doing well.

It's now in his brain.

Andrew, Anna and I went to visit him in the hospital on Father's Day. It was the first time I'd seen him since he started going downhill rapidly. He really didn't look the father-in-law I know. His face and legs were really skinny. His body was swollen. I was a bit taken aback at first.

But when he looked at Anna - I saw him. I saw Peter again.

His face just transformed. His eyes lit up. He smiled broadly. And he spoke to her in his Grandpa voice, she knows and loves.

He got tired, and asked us if we would mind cutting the visit short. Before we left, I brought Anna up close to him. She wanted to stay in my arms... but we stood right next to him to say our goodbyes.

Peter looked up, his eyes focused on her face, and said to me, "Thank you, Heather. For Anna."

I nodded.

And then he said something that made me overwhelmingly sad... but also content at the same time. He said "I'll be there at Christmas. You may not be able to see me. But I'll be there."

I broke down as I nodded at him. Tears stopped me from saying what I really wanted to say.

I wanted him to know that I knew he'd be there.... That he'd always be with us. Because we won't let Anna grow up not knowing who her Grandpa was. She'll know how he loved pirate stories - Treasure Island, in particular. She'll know that he told corny jokes. She'll know that he was a teacher at one point in his career. She'll know that he was one of those guys that everyone loved because he was so kind and funny and thoughtful. She'll know he was an amazing Dad to her Daddy. And that he always made her Mommy feel special.

But most of all, she'll know that his face lit up whenever she entered the room. She'll know he adored her. She'll know that according to him, she was just the most amazing little girl ever.

I couldn't say it, but I hope he felt it when I squeezed his hand gently.

I hope he knows.


  1. Those of us who are fortunate enough to know Peter, thank you for this lovely thoughtful post.

  2. I'm so sorry for you guys. This was beautiful. Our thoughts are with all of you during this time.

    Kim and Char xxx ooo

  3. Just a moment as I wipe the tears from my eyes....That was beautiful Heather. I felt the love just reading the narrative, so I'm sure your father-in-law knew it. My father has cancer and is doing well at the moment, but I know the day you described will come. I wish you love and peace during this difficult time.

    Sarah Gingerich

  4. Beautiful...I think Anna will always know how much her grandpa loved her.

    My father passed away before he got to be a grandpa, but he shows up in my kids...it's a beautiful thing.

  5. I'm so sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I lost my dad about three years ago. It's really had to lose a parent, and I know my husband has even struggled with the loss of my dad. The transitions within the family continue for a while. I'm so glad he got to meet your daughter, and she got to know him even if it was too brief.

  6. Heather I just saw this beautiful post tonight. I know how Peter's whole face would light up when he saw Anna; he loved his grandchildren so much...if only he could have seen her today...but maybe he is seeing her.