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Grieving Before a Death: Understanding Anticipatory Grief Essay

When my Grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer, I was instantly crushed at thinking about all of the possibilities that there were for what could happen next; I could lose my Grandmother forever. After learning that the cause of my Grandmothers cancer was from smoking I told myself that I would never smoke and that I wanted to help people to stop smoking. When an individual first gets lung cancer they may start to have a persistent cough or a heavy feeling in their chest. Some of the effects of lung cancer are shortness of breath, wheezing, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.

One of the big causes of lung cancer is smoking, the more that you smoke the more likely it is that you will get lung cancer, also if you start smoking at a young age. My Grandmother and I had a very close relationship; I would always want to go to her house so that my Grandmother and I could cook together and also do arts and crafts. Whenever I would go visit my grandmother I would walk in and the smell of the fresh baked cookies was always the first thing to welcome you into her home.

This was followed by the smell of fresh squeezed lemonade, when you would drink it you wouldn’t scrunch your face together because it was sour, my Grandmother had figured out the perfect recipe for lemonade. My Grandmother and I would always make lunch and dinner together, whenever I would go over she would teach me new things about the kitchen; she is the reason that I love to cook for my family whenever I get the chance. Having this close of a relationship with my Grandmother is what made it so hard for me when I found out she had cancer.

I found out that my Grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer around the time of my 14th birthday; I remember I had just come back from playing basketball with some of my friends because it was summer vacation. I walked into my house and my mother and father were seated in the living room on the couch, my mother was crying on my father’s shoulder. I was so confused I had no idea what was happening, I went over and asked my parents what was wrong.

My mother told me to sit down and she began to tell me that my Grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer, when I heard this I felt like my heart had dropped to my feet but I had also remembered that some cancers were treatable so I asked my mom if it was. She told me that they had found the cancer too late and that my Grandmother was not going to live much longer, this is when I completely lost it my heart had dropped even further and my stomach started to hurt. I ran to my room as tears were pouring out of my eyes, I slammed my door and just fell on my bed crying, I didn’t know what to do.

My parents came up and talked to me and said that it we would all get through this together and that we were going to go visit my grandmother in the hospital the next day. When I went to the hospital with my parents the next day to visit my Grandmother I was sad that I was going to the hospital to see her but at the same time I was also scared about what I was going to see. When we walked into the hospital it was as if someone dimmed down all the lights everywhere as if they were trying to make this already terrible place even worse.

As I walked down the hallways to my Grandmothers room I saw all the other people in beds some just lying there some with family and some were watching TV. When I walked into my Grandmothers room I was frightened because of all of the different machines that were hooked up to her body, the first thought that went through my mind when seeing all of the machines hooked up to her body was her becoming inspector gadget. I went over to talk to her and it was difficult to hear her because of the beeping of the machines and it didn’t help that she was talking quietly.

After about thirty minutes of us being there I asked my mother if we could leave because I didn’t like seeing my Grandmother when she was hooked up to all the machines. As we walked towards the exit of the hospital my eyes began to water again and once we left I burst into tears because I was so upset that out of all people this had to happen to my Grandmother the one person that I connected with most in my family. About six months had passed, I was now fourteen. School at started back up and I was trying to hide all of my feelings about my Grandmother from my friends so they wouldn’t also be sad.

One day after school I came home as I always did but this time when I went inside my mom came to me and said that we were going to go say goodbye to my Grandmother, this made me feel terrible I didn’t want to say bye to one of my family member who I was so close with. We arrived at the hospital and once again I felt as if someone dimmed all the lights to make it feel even gloomier in the hospital. This time when we got to my Grandmothers room I didn’t even recognize her, because she had been through so much surgery to try and stay alive longer.

This made me feel miserable because she had gone through all that treatment and pain throughout the last six months and she was still going to be taken away from me forever. Before I left the hospital that night I went to my Grandmother gave her a big hug and said goodbye, she gave me her cross necklace that she had been wearing and said to always keep this, she said that as long as I had this necklace she would always be with me. That is the biggest reason that I was able to move on because I would always see the necklace and then remember what she told me that she was always with me.

After I witnessed firsthand what lung cancer could do to someone I began to tell people to stop smoking and also helped people quit. I would tell them the story about how when I went to see my Grandmother after all of her cancer treatments that I couldn’t even recognize her, after that a lot of them would want to stop. I would then talk about how this affected my life and how if they were diagnosed it could affect someone else’s life. In my survey it was shown that people who had family or friends diagnosed with lung cancer or killed by lung cancer were almost always affected by it.


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