Fantasy Faire 2016: Why I Relay

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My grandfather was the best person I’ve ever known. Looking at him from an adult perspective, I can see the little flaws that a little girl doesn’t notice in her hero, but even now, I admire him so much. With a kind word and a peppermint, he could fix anything from a skinned knee to a broken heart. No matter what you needed, you could go to him and he would help you find a solution. He taught me to ride a bike, he helped me apply to college, he held my hand when specialists told me I was sick. His cancer was so much scarier than mine.

I always thought he was indestructible, you see. He’d gone to war, moved to new continents, raised several children and buried one. He beat back one cancer, survived a near fatal car crash, and kept going with barely a hitch when glaucoma rendered him nearly blind. Through it all, he had a smile handy and a pocket full of sweets. So when they said he had cancer again, I was worried, but I wasn’t afraid. He was invincible. They would do surgery, he would have treatment, everything would be fine. And then it wasn’t.

He passed away just before his ninety-fifth birthday. I still miss him every day. He is why I relay. Because cancer is a thief. It steals memories, not just from the ill but from the people who love them. It steals the possibility of what might have been. It steals time, and we have so little to begin with.

My grandfather will never walk me down the aisle. My nephews will never know him as anything more than a picture on the wall. He will never come home to my grandmother again or sit on the porch and nap in his rocking chair.

It’s the little things that make a life, and they’re worth fighting for.

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