This year for Christmas, there is only one thing that I want. It’s not something you can get at the store. It’s not something that any amount of money can buy. All I want for Christmas this year, more than anything else in the world, is for my grandma to smile. So here I am, asking the whole world for something so simple yet so meaningful: Could you please send my grandparents a Christmas card this year?
This is my grandma. This photo was taken in January 2011, at our family’s belated Christmas gathering for the 2010 holidays. Doesn’t she look content? This is exactly what I want for her again, to be happy and enjoying her family for the holidays. But this year, well, this year is different. This year is going to be grandma’s last Christmas.
Let’s go back in time a few weeks. Back to when my grandma first went to the hospital. She was having difficulty breathing; they ordered a ton of tests, put her on oxygen, and kept her in the hospital for a while for observation. We all waited for news, hoping that it would be good but bracing ourselves for the bad. When the first round of tests came back, we learned two things: That she has severe COPD with less than 50% lung capacity, and they found a mass in her right lung. That meant more tests, more waiting, more bracing for bad news.
They scheduled a biopsy of the mass for the day before Thanksgiving. For the first time in my entire life, there was no family gathering for the holiday. Though really, I guess none of us were in that festive of a mood anyway.
Yesterday, the results of the biopsy came back. The news wasn’t good, and I hadn’t expected it to be, but it still took me by surprise when my mother called with the details.
The mass in Grandma’s lung is cancerous. Her cancer is stage 4. The doctors say she only has a couple of months left.
This kind of news is never easy to take, but finding this out heading into the holiday season has been absolutely devastating for my family. Understandably, grandma is pretty depressed about the whole situation. And I don’t think the reality of it has hit my grandpa yet. I don’t know what he’s going to do when she’s gone. She has been the center of his entire world for over 60 years. It’s a kind of pending loss that I can’t even begin to fathom.
The holidays are supposed to be filled with love and joy, not sadness and despair. I don’t want grandma’s last Christmas to be melancholy. I want the holidays to wrap her with caring and comfort. I want so very, very desperately to see my grandma smile again.
In order to lift my grandparents’ spirits, my mother started asking everyone she knew if they would please send them a card this holiday season. Heartfelt greetings, even from complete strangers, can have a profound effect on the recipient. If you would like to help make my grandma smile through the holidays, here are some ways you can help.
- Send my grandparents a card. Their mailing address can be found at the end of this post.
- If you are feeling crafty, I would love if you could create a handmade card for my grandparents. All cards are welcome and appreciated, but there is something extra special about receiving a handmade card. Opening them makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.
- If you have children, perhaps you could have them draw my grandma a picture to cheer her up. She is, after all, grandmother to nine and great grandmother to eight, and as a grandma she of course has an appreciating for young artists.
- If you are active with your church, maybe the congregation would be interested in helping out. Please pass this information along to your prayer circle or bible study group, or submit the information for inclusion in your church’s weekly bulletin.
- If you have any other friends who would be willing to send my grandparents holiday greetings, please feel free to pass this information along to them.
- If you are a fellow blogger, I would be extremely grateful if you shared my grandma’s story with your readers and followers.
- Please share this story via social media. Share this post with your Facebook friends, tweet about it, pin the top graphic on this post to Pinterest. Any way that you can think of to get more people involved!
My hope is that my grandparents’ mailbox will be overflowing with love for the next month. Please address your cards to:
Ed and Betty Vogel
425 E. Coleman Rd.
Clare, MI 48617
Thank you everyone for your help with this. My whole family thanks you, from the bottoms of our aching hearts.
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