Posted by Aimee Bruner on Aug 18, 2011
True strength is holding your head up while you watch your child lose their child.
It's driving to the hospital in the middle of the night after learning that your granddaughter's MRI showed a tumour on the brain stem, it's picking yourself up after falling so hard running from your car in the parking lot that you split your lip. It's holding a cold cloth on your daughter's head while listening to a team of doctors say that her child's tumour is not benign. True strength is taking your first born to a funeral home to plan her daughter's funeral and it's proudly marching around your office introducing your granddaughter to everyone you work with while fighting back tears.
True strength is showing up at the hospital at 3:00am to let your shock stricken daughter rest her foot on your knee. It's devoting all of your time to making your granddaughter laugh even though every cackle breaks your heart. It's blowing raspberries in her face and bouncing her on your knee. True strength is spending hours sitting in a parked motor boat at the cottage while your granddaughter sits at the wheel pretending to drive. It's taking her for ice cream and watching it drip from the cone to her hand and onto your foot. True strength is dancing around like a yahoo because you know that your granddaughter will laugh her head off. It's letting her feed you and actually eating a soggy carrot that's already been in her mouth.
True strength is showing up at the hospital with bags of gourmet food in order to feed your family while consumed by your own sadness. It's waking up every morning at the cottage at 5:00am just to spend time with your granddaughter. It's sitting on the deck with her for hours at a time. It's bringing her a bumble bee tutu with matching sunglasses. True strength is rubbing your daughters shoulders when her body is feeling the impact of this reality. True strength is leaving the office in the middle of the work day just to come and hug your granddaughter even though you're doing it with a broken heart. It's calling every day just to say you miss us.
True strength is standing in the doorway of a hospital room watching as 10 medical staff work on your daughter who's on the floor just after fainting for the second time from the shock of learning what is happening in her baby girl's little body. It's never leaving the hospital and bringing Tim Bits to anyone who'll eat them. True strength is waking up at 5:00am every morning to sit with whoever's turn it is to get up with Stella. It's making tea and toast for your daughter who's having trouble keeping food down. It's taking your granddaughter for a hamburger no matter what time of day. True strength is showing up every day with a new idea for a fun activity to help your daughter and her daughter pass the time. It's driving around for hours as the curly haired clone of your youngest daughter sleeps in the back seat. True strength is building a room in the basement so that your daughters friends can move in when your granddaughter starts to lose the functions that she needs to live. True strength is always being there.
True strength is setting the table each morning in preparation for the daily ice cream breakfast with your granddaughter, just because she loves it. It's making sure that she always has blankets that are big enough and warm enough for her. It's buying her purple crocs because you know that she loves them. True strength is planning a trip to Sesame Street Land, knowing that it will likely be the last trip you take with her. It's visiting her house even though it breaks your heart. True strength is taking your 15 year old son to the hospital so that he can learn that his niece - the love of his life, has a tumour that will soon take her life. It's figuring out how to best support your child as she stands to lose her own child.
True strength is doing everything in your power to try and find little things that make Stella happy - because that's what's important. It's looking all over your house for an old portable phone so that she can make all the pretend calls she wants. It's reading her books and bringing her special crackers to snack on because they're her favourite. True strength is putting aside your grief just to make her laugh.
Grandparents are true strength. Stella's life has been filled with the incredible love that only a grandparent can share with a child. All of her grandparent's have been the pillars of her world and I will be forever grateful for the role they have played in her life as well as in ours.