Lost the battle, won the war

By Kiley Hill, Round Table managing editor

Do I choose to wake up every day and grieve? No. I wake up every day and know a part of me is missing.

On July 1, 2016 my parents told me my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, no one knew what type, not even the doctors. Friends and family would ask what it was and my family would say, “Oh we don’t know. We just know that they found it in her lymph nodes.”

In August of 2016 we found out that it was stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The thing with pancreatic cancer is that it is totally brutal, and never caught until stage 4.

On February 21, 2017 at 10:50 P.M, my grandma passed away from a 6 month battle with cancer.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. I don’t want to talk about my grandma’s battle. My grandma didn’t even want people to know she was sick.

Instead, I want to talk about our memories, and my connection leading up to the very last day I was with her and even continuing on.

On the day of her funeral my uncle told me, “you latched onto her the day you were born, and it’s always been that way.”

A few days earlier my mom told me, “your grandma told me she always had a special place in her heart for you.” Well grandma, ditto.

My grandma and I were two peas in a pod. I was never a clingy girlfriend, I was a clingy granddaughter.

I didn’t even skip a beat, when my grandma walked through the door I ran to her and hugged her before her butt and feet could make it inside. I’d sit on her lap and her nickname for me was “fussy pants.” Sadly for me that is also what she called her dog from time to time.

From my childhood, I have way too many memories with her. If I were to say all of my favorites, I would never get to the present day in this article. So I’ll leave it with this one.

My grandma and I always picked at each other. We never got offended, it was just our connection.

If you know me, I am a talker. I am loud, boisterous, and super duper hyper.

One day I was talking my grandma’s ear off while we were walking into the laundry room.

What was I talking about? I have no idea. Why we were going in the laundry room? Beats me. What I did know though, was as I was walking, she stopped walking with me and just shut the door behind me and shut the light off.

I walked back out with a pouty bottom lip and my grandma was doubled over in the living room floor laughing her behind off.

“Kiley I am so sorry, that was so funny. You just were so busy talking, you didn’t even notice.” And just kept on laughing. Thank ya grams.

When my grandpa passed away 5 1/2 years ago, I saw more and more of my grandma than I did during my childhood.

My grandma came down to Maryland multiple times a year and stayed for weeks.

To share those memories would be a novella. My grandma and I were best friends. We watched horror movies, we went shopping, we watched Judge Judy and Family Feud every week night.

With her, there was a never dull moment. My grandma knew how to love, she knew how to give, but she also knew how to judge.

“Kiley you don’t want to be blond, not a fake blond.”

“Kiley, you don’t want to wear so much makeup.” Of course that comment was followed by a “You’re beautiful just the way you are.”

However even when my grandma was sick, she still needed to get her opinion out.

“Kiley, why don’t you go change out of that dress now?”

Well, okie dokie then, grams.

My grandma came to live with us in November and my mom took her under her care. Every day since the day she came, I watched my grandma go through a terrible fight.

I watched her fall, get back up, fall again, get back up, fall once more, stand even taller, but sadly she took a final fall and God didn’t want her to get back up.

While my grandma was indeed very sick, she was still my grandma, whether you could see it or not.

My grandma had to go to Frederick Memorial Hospital two nights before Christmas Eve.

Yikes, right?

Well she came home on Christmas Eve and when she walked through the door she said, “Honey I’m home!”

That was my grandma talking.

Two weeks before my grandma took her last breath, she was unresponsive. I came in late to school that day because I didn’t sleep. That afternoon my mom told me she was unresponsive and I totally lost it.

Your sense of hearing is normally the last thing to go, so of course I took advantage of that.

I cried and cried, got a grip, and said what I thought were my last goodbyes.

I remember saying, “Lil lady, you are beautiful.” And she crinkled her eyebrows at me.

I went to bed that night thinking my grandma would be gone in the morning. Well I woke up, came downstairs, and low and behold my grandma was sitting up in a recliner drinking coffee! What?

For the last two weeks, every time I saw my grandma, I would have to lean over her face so she could recognize I was talking and understand me better.

Well, that didn’t work anymore because when I wanted to talk about my day at school, she would pucker her lips. Every time I leaned over her, she puckered her lips for a kiss. I swear I gave her more kisses the last month she was with us than I did my entire time with her.

Watching my grandma tumble and fall through this battle has, so far, been the hardest thing I’ve gone through.

The night my grandma passed away I told her I would see her in the morning before I left for school. I said, “I never leave without saying goodbye. I’ll never leave you, I’ve always kept that promise. I’ll see you in the morning. I love you.” And I kissed her goodnight.

When I told her I loved her that night her eyebrows crinkled. After that, I had a hunch that there wouldn’t be another night with her.

My grandma was my best friend, mentor, godmother and grandmother. If I didn’t see her on my birthday, she would call. If I didn’t answer a text, she would call to make sure I was okay. Sometimes I still click on her contact and almost write a new message to her. Almost.

Two nights after she passed, I was thinking of her as I laid in bed. When I looked to my right wall, I saw a ladybug crawling. That was my grandma saying hello.