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A Letter to the Grandparent I Lost to Cancer

Today, you took your last breath. Just like that,  you were gone. “A vapor in the wind,” as my favorite Christian song goes. It’s so incredibly hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that you were needed elsewhere so soon. That you had to leave this world in so much pain at just 63 years old at the hands of a silent killer. In fact, as I write this, I’m at a loss for words that need to be said. Words to explain what we’re feeling, what you felt. The only word I am able to think of is “unfair.”


It’s unfair that you had to leave long before you got to see and experience everything your finally everlasting happy heart had intended. It’s unfair that you didn’t get to “cash in” on your life’s bounties you rightfully earned, from watching your granddaughters and your greats grow and graduate to countless scooter and boat rides for next 20 years or so with your son. It’s unfair  that you fought so hard and long for your life while others simply are wasting theirs. It’s unfair that such a caring and wonderful man had to go through so much pain mentally, physically, and soulfully to simply make it to the other side. It’s just so—unfair.


While acknowledging the fact that you’re gone hurts like hell right now, the pain will fade someday. We will pick ourselves up and carry on. It’s what you would have wanted. However,  as lonely as it may seem at times, you will never be truly “gone.” Your memory will always be there in both our hearts and our minds. We will remember you year after year at holiday dinners, birthdays, cookouts, and boat rides when we realize you’re not in your normal seat or when you don’t let out your iconic ornery laugh for misbehaving. We’ll remember you when we do your favorite things or drive down your walking and scooter trails when you were one with your life and the world. We’ll remember you when we achieve both big and small things fulfilling our lives more and more everyday—something you stressed to me oh-so-much in our seemingly private little chats amongst the laughter of the friends and family.


I love you. I always will. I promise I won’t ever forget that conversation we had when this thing started back in the fall. I’m going to make it to medical school—for you. Let’s kick cancer’s ass, together.


Love always,

Your Grandchild


Alexis is a current student at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and is studying Biomedical Sciences with the intention of becoming a pediatric neurologist. She is a firm believer in the healing powers of aromatherapy, fine arts, and a daily cup of coffee. The number one thing on her bucket list is to travel to every continent within her lifetime.
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