How Cancer Stole My Hero

So since the topic in the blogging world is My Hero. I thought I’d dedicate this post to my very own Hero. 

My Grandad or Gar as most of my family and other people knew him as. He was and always will be My Hero. I have yet to meet another humanbeing as selfless and as kind hearted as him. 

That tattoo on his knuckle says it all really.

I really don’t know where to even start, apart from the fact that he raised me as his own. From a very young age I had no contact with my Father and my Mother worked full time to be able to provide me with everything I needed for a good start in life. So I basically lived with my Grandad, which was the best thing ever. I had the best possible childhood because of him. Unlike most girls I didn’t want to play with Barbies. I wanted a petrol scooter and a tree house, which he undoubtably gave me. He taught me how to ride my first bike and then consoled me when I fell off it. From peeling carrots on a Saturday morning, to watching Bear in the Big Blue House every night at 6pm. I enjoyed all of it because he was by my side. He even did my own bedroom for me which I slept in ONCE because I preferred sleeping in the single bed in his room so he could tell me all the stories about rabbits in the woods before bed. I wish I never had to grow up.

As I grew from a child to my early teenage life I realised he wasn’t just by Grandad but my best friend. He would be the person I’d call when anything went wrong in my life. If I was sad or just feeling down I’d go and sit with him for a few hours eating waffles and strawberries and I’d feel as good as new! But then the hormonal age kicked in, I wanted to go out more with my friends near home and suddenly become “too old” to sleep in a single bed in my Grandads room anymore. There is nothing I regret more. I wish I spent so much more of my teenage years with him before he was taken away from us. Don’t get me wrong I saw him weekly but only for the odd hour. Which my mother told me later on life that he suffered from depression during that time. My heart breaks just thinking of it. At the time I thought there was nothing wrong with just seeing him weekly instead of daily.

It was in the May of 2014 when my mother called me to say she had to take him to the hospital because he looked ill. For anyone who knew him, he would not go to the hospital unless he HAD too. So from then I knew, something was wrong. I was in Dawlish at the time so me and my Auntie caught the train home to Tonypandy. We went straight down to visit him and he looked ill, id never saw him looking like that before. I went down with my Mother everyday to see him. Until one day she said I couldn’t. As you can imagine I kicked up a fuss and screamed down the phone.

A few hours later she called me and said you need to come down. I was met outside the hospital by my Auntie and Cousin, who then told me the words that will haunt me for the rest of my life. 

“It’s cancer Chloe”

I instantly fell to the floor and began to cry, all of a sudden I felt like my world was falling apart. Once I got myself back to my feet and calmed down, I went in to see him, I tried so hard to be strong but I couldn’t. The tears kept falling down my face. I jumped into the hospital bed with him, he’d never been one for showing affection. You knew he loved you but he’d never say it. I’d only seen him cry once in his life before that day and that was when he Father died. He said to me “I’ll be okay pidge, they can do treatment”.

They never did, he wasn’t strong enough for chemo. So it was literally just waiting around. I could never imagine how he felt, but all I could do then was try my hardest to make his last few days/weeks/months the best. I visited him daily. He never lost his funny side. Shouting at my mother, making fun of my cousins. He kept so upbeat besides the situation. He’s always been that guy. The one that kept the family laughing. 

 

It was our turn to return all the times he looked after us, and take care of him. 

Once we found out chemo wasn’t an option, he started to look and feel worse in himself. He was dying and there wasn’t anything me or anybody else could do. It’s something you don’t want to admit to yourself. I was 17 at the time and kept thinking will he be at my 18th birthday. Unfortunately he didn’t make it that far. He told us all he wasn’t afraid to die, he was just afraid to leave all of his girls behind. Meaning his daughters and grandchildren.

Only a few weeks later in June 2017 he took a turn for the worse and was moved hospitals. We were allowed to stay over night with him because “it could be any day now” as the Doctors told us.

I can remember one day I was sat next to him in the hospital bed watching Green Street while he was sleeping because of the morphine. He grabbed my hand, turned and said to my mother “make sure you look after her”


I will never forget how much that moment broke me as a person. In his last moments all he wanted to do was make sure I’d be okay. I’d never be okay without him and that’s a fact. But I have learned to cope with it now. I said to him I love you Gar to which he replied I love you pidge. That was the last time I heard him speak.

On the 29th of June 2014 I woke up to my uncle calling me saying we had to go he doesn’t have long left.

We all sat with him, me, my mother her two sisters, my uncle, my cousin and my Grandads nephew Wayne. 

Watching his chest fall and rise,  the groans he made broke me more each time. My Auntie started to talk to him “it’s okay Dad, we’re all with you. You can go now, go to your Mother she’s waiting for you there”

His mothers name was Elsie, who I eventually would name my daughter after. He loved his mother so much since she died at an early age. The stories he would tell us about her, his face would beam with happiness.

After a few hours of his breaths getting shorter I started to pray, please take him peacefully. Within a few minutes his breathing stopped. The room was frantic. My mother pushed the button for an emergency as the nurses ran in. He was gone. We all sat there for a while, crying. Saying our final goodbyes. I kissed his forehead and told him goodbye and that I loved him for the very last time. 

He was taken too quickly, way before his time. I didn’t cry much after that day. I didn’t know why either. I do have the odd cry to myself now and again. Why I didn’t then I’m unsure of, maybe I tried to be strong for my family and especially my Mother. She later asked me if I’d write a poem to say out in the funeral. I was so scared but I knew that would be his last goodbye from me. So the day came and I got up, shaking like a leaf with tears falling down my face and began to say the poem. 


After that day I wasn’t the same anymore and never was. Until my daughter came along.

He was my whole world, when he left he took a piece of me to. It was only when Elsie was born that I regained that piece, making me whole again.

I now have someone/something to live for. But oh how I wish she had got to meet him. When I see the tints of auburn in her hair when she’s outside the only thing I think of is him. When I hear her name I think of him. When I see daffodils I think of him. I think that’s the way it’ll be for the rest of my life. I think he’ll always be in the back of all my thoughts.

Cancer sucks, to have someone you love be taken away from you in the matter of weeks. But I’m glad more and more people are starting to beat it! I salute all you survivors and the people fighting the battle right now. You are so strong. 

Wherever you may be Gar. I hope you knew and still know that you are and always have been My Hero.

I’ll make sure to tell Elsie all about you. 

To anyone who’s reading this. Hold your loved ones tightly. Always make sure they know just how much you love them.

Thank you for sharing this journey with us. 

-MLS and Me.

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