Why cancer sucks…and why I’m angry at God because of it.

Cancer sucks. It’s a life-draining, vile, horrendous, ugly thing that can only be compared to the rotten, decaying, putrid garbage that makes up landfills. It turns healthy people into shells that are exhausted, tired, beaten up versions of themselves.

Cancer would be Goliath and your loved one would be David.

My Grandma is dying from cancer. She’s not beating it, in fact, it’s kicking her ass. I can’t even tell you what “type” of cancer she has (like the type really makes a difference) because she has it in 13 different places in her body. It’s taken over her whole being. This beautiful woman has spent the last 10years of her life battling this disease, with the most severe-the stage 4 diagnosis-revealed just 2 short years ago. She’s 74 years old, been married to my Papa for 58years (and they will make it to 59 years on 5/15/12 he informed me the other day), she’s the mother of 4, grandmother to 14 & great-grandmother to 12. She retired as a junior high janitor for the Vermilion school system when I was in 7th grade & I used to be embarrassed that she left “I love you” notes in my desk. When I was little she used to read me bedtime stories, we’d bake some of her “homemade”cookies (when I was an adult I learned that “homemade” to grandma actually meant cheap, generic boxed cookie mixes…I felt like my whole childhood was a lie! Smile), and she never once forgot to send a birthday card (or Christmas, Easter, or “Just Because” card). And yesterday, I had to remind her how to walk because she had forgotten. It broke my heart.

Cancer is a bitch.

I love God. I love him more than anything in this world. Words will never describe the grace and forgiveness that he’s brought into my life, but dammit I’m pissed at him.

My Grandma has lived a life serving the Lord. She used to sing, “Jesus Loves Me” to me while I was growing up. She has lived a faithful life where she has placed the Lord #1…always. It is beyond my scope of understanding why he’s chosen to have her go out like this. It’s not fair.

When the family found out, 2years ago, that this cancer diagnosis would most likely take my Grandma’s life…I prayed…like I’ve never prayed before that my Grandma would live long enough to see me get married. I wanted that moment with her; my cousins that were married had that moment, & I wanted that also. I’m the only daughter’s, only daughter. I wanted that rite of passage. I wanted the handmade afghan that she made for all my cousins as a wedding present, I wanted to hear the marriage wisdom that can only come from 50+ years of ups & downs with the same man. I wanted the picture of me in my bridal gown, surrounded by my mom & Grandma…the two strongest woman I know. I very selfishly wanted that for myself. Fast-forward 2years later and I’m no closer to getting that moment than I was back then. My Grandma is fading fast, we’re not talking months…but weeks…days even. I’m not going to have that moment with her, that prayer was not answered in the way I wanted.

I’ve thought about the bad relationships from my past, the one’s I’ve stayed in, fully knowing they weren’t going to go anywhere. The relationships I’ve sabotaged when they got to serious, the hearts I’ve hurt, the selfishness, the deceit, the wasted years. The times when I was in good relationships, but I wasn’t “ready” and bailed out. I think about the “what-if’s” and wish I had made different choices. Choices that could’ve given me my moment with my Grandma. It’s easier to blame God right now than to blame myself.

Yesterday, I watched my Grandma struggle to drink water out of a cup. She didn’t know what a “cup” was & certainly didn’t know what it was for. I thought to myself, “This isn’t my Grandma. She’s not this person.” A minute later while I was brushing what little hair she has left, she grabbed my hand and said, I love you so much, Carey.”…now THAT is my Grandma.

I owe God a huge apology. I was so wrapped up in how unfair cancer is. How unfair of the selfish memories that I won’t have. I never stopped to think about the lesson that God was trying to teach me.

My Grandma won’t see me get married, and that will hurt like hell, but through her example of loving God & loving my Papa she’s taught me that marriage can’t be rushed, it can’t be forced, & it has to be built on a foundation of honesty & trust.

I don’t know what purpose the Lord has for choosing my Grandma to battle in this war. But I do know that there’s a reason & he has picked the bravest & toughest warrior that he’s ever created. None of this makes any sense to me & frankly, it doesn’t matter. It’s not my time to figure out the “why’s” and I know that, in time, the “why’s” will reveal themselves and be answered. God’s plan for my life, my Grandma’s life, my family’s life…is so much bigger than I can ever conceive. He never does anything without a reason & there is a reason for this…and I trust in that.

I’m so blessed to serve a God that not only forgives my anger towards him, but understands the tears that fall behind that anger. He owes me nothing, but loves me enough to make my hurt go away. And though I feel he is silent & has abandoned my prayers, in my heart I know that he is answering them in the way that is for my benefit.

My prayer now is that my Grandma Cooper, my beautiful & loving Grandma, will leave this world with a smile on her face, knowing that she has done a good job loving her family & friends and that shows by the legacy that she’s left behind. I believe that God is taking her from us because she has used 100% of what he gave her and now it’s his turn for his time to hug her & love on her and tell her that she has earned her place in the riches of heaven. When he calls her home I know he will host the biggest, “Job Well Done” party that heaven has ever seen!

Cancer sucks, but God is good.

Death sucks, but God is good.

I’m the only daughter’s, only daughter. Which means I come from a direct line of tough, strong women.

And because of that, God has already blessed me beyond what I ever could imagine.

God is so good.

Me & Grandma…1981






Filed under Faith & God, Family, Memories, Some thoughts...

10 responses to “Why cancer sucks…and why I’m angry at God because of it.

  1. Stephanie Miller

    Well said….you are in my thoughts.

  2. Michele

    Carey this is beautiful!! I understand what you are going through we lost my step father 2 yrs ago to cancer and it is so hard to watch them fade so quickly. My kids miss him to this very day but know that he is in a better place and free from pain. My prayers go out to you and your family!!!

    • Carey D. Henderson

      Thanks so much Michele. In some ways it seems like its been drawn out for so long, but in other ways its just happening way to quickly. It does give me alot of peace knowing that I know EXACTLY where she’s going & she knows it too! There’s freedom in knowing that!

  3. Gigi Horning Riffle

    Carey that is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read and I just want to say THANK YOU! As you know I lost my dad(your great uncle bill) to this awful disease and for a long time I found myself being very angry at God for taking him. Many people have tried to give me words of wisdom or comfort to help me get through losing him, and though their hearts where in the right place, the words just didn’t do too much…until, I read what you wrote. Your words have left me with a peaceful, feeling, and an understanding that I just couldn’t grasp until now, and for that I THANK YOU with all my heart!

    • Carey D. Henderson

      Okay, well that comment totally made me cry. I’m sorry you went through & are still going through that pain. I’m glad that what I wrote was helpful to you. I know your dad’s passing was very hard for grandma, it comforts me to know that he’ll be waiting on the other side to greet her when its her time. Thank you for your kind words!

  4. liz

    Carey, Well done. Mom

  5. Your letter is very touching and you are so right. God does have a plan, knowing that is what got me through loosing my dad at the very young age of 48 back in 1993. We miss him so very much but we know he is in a better place and not suffering.

    • Carey D. Henderson

      That’s the irony of the whole thing. Even though you know they’re in a better place, that pain level still stinks! Thanks for your kind words, know that I take them to heart & am thankful for them.

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