I met Greyson’s Grandma, Jo, at his house last week. Jo is Grey’s maternal grandmother, as in, she is Dana’s Mom.
Jo was not just at their home on the north side of Fort Wayne for the Cantaloupe video shoot; she was there because that is their new “normal.” When she introduced herself to me I thought, man this entire family is so young. The woman is hip, beautiful, and full of energy. Good thing since she drives roughly 35 miles one way daily to watch Grey, Aubrey, and Lainey while Dana and Nate are at work.
No… Jo was not yet retired and yes, she used to have a job when Greyson was diagnosed with leukemia. As a mother, she instinctively knew there was no way her daughter could work full-time, take care of a home, a husband, and Grey’s two younger sisters while she coped and cared for Grey. So, she did what any mom in a position of being able to help would do: she stepped up and stepped in.
We talked in that OSU-inspired basement about her former employment, her husband and his job, their trek to Fort Wayne every day, and how their lives have changed since finding out their grandson has cancer. I enjoyed listening to her, all the while never once missing a beat as Grey and Aubrey would interrupt with a “Hey Gramma, can you help me?” “Hey Gramma, where is my new train?” “Hey Gramma, I need more batteries, please.”
Ah, Grey and those batteries; those hidden little triple AAA buggers which keep his trains going ‘round and ‘round that crazy track. I listened carefully to Jo’s words, as they were clearly the glue that kept the day held tightly together. It’s not that anyone else there was frazzled or that Jo did everything – that wasn’t the case at all. Rather, her tone, her demeanor and the way she handled all that was happening around her set the stage for everyone else. Including me.
Without her calm, I would have been super emotional and unable to hold back the tears which I could feel welling up behind my eyes. For when I looked at Jo, I saw my Mom.
My mother stopped her entire life the moment she found out I was sick. Her focus was one-fold: she was going to do everything in her power to make sure I had a chance. In the middle of it, I didn’t appreciate her selflessness to the magnitude which it deserved. Not even close. It is one of the many times I wish I could go back in time and change my behavior and my words.
Fourteen years later though, another Mom has helped me once again. Thank you, Jo, for bringing clarity to my older eyes. You helped me see and remember that when cancer invades a family, it takes that entire family to come together and do whatever it takes to win the battle. It is a long process. It affects not only the patient’s life, but the lives of the caregiver’s as well. Emotions run high, energy runs low, and life goes on even when sometimes we wish it would just wait.
This morning I am thankful for motherly glue.