My Mother-in-law, a preschool teacher, wanted nothing more than to be a Nana to lots of grandchildren. As soon as we started trying to get pregnant, she was at the stores shopping for baby things. If you’ve read “Our Story,” you know this took a while. Our niece, Emma, was the first grandchild to enter her life in 2008 and she was thrilled. As she looked into Emma’s small face, she smiled with the joy and wonderment a new baby brings.
Papa and Nana admiring Emma at the hospital where she was born
As time went by, she was a wonderful Nana to Emma. They spent many hours of quality time together reading stories and playing. Nana showed her flash cards of different animals until our niece could put adults to shame with her identification of exotic species.
When Nana found out about our simultaneous pregnancies, she was so excited. She spent time with our surrogate at doctor’s appointments and spent time doting on me. When we made it past the two first trimesters, she breathed a sigh of relief and kept us on prayer chains. As the birth dates of the babies approached, Nana’s cough which she had always had since I’d known her got worse.
Near the time of the babies’ births, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She kept this information from us until after they were born because she did not want anything to cloud our happy news. She doted on the babies in the NICU showed them love with her gentle touch.
Nana and Grayson at the NICU
She had some breathing difficulties and was hospitalized for a while, and fortunately, made it home in time for the babies’ first Christmas. After that, she improved for a while and had various treatments intended to prolong her life. The treatments worked at first and then began to fail.
It was Nana’s wish to see the babies baptized and we put it off for a while so that she could attend when she was feeling healthy. That time never came and we made the decision to have the babies baptized by her bed side at her home. Nana’s pastor that she knew for many years performed the ceremony. She later said that it made her feel at peace.
Grayson, Capri, Xayden and Ryder, July 2011
She was a wonderful Mother, Mother-in-law and Nana. We are so glad she had a chance to spend time with each of the babies and to hold them and love them. Not long after the babies’ baptism, Nana lost her battle with cancer surrounded by her husband and children.
Nana, early in her marriage
Nana, our children will hear stories about you as they grow. We know you are watching over them.
It seems that most people know someone who has been impacted by cancer. Please feel free to share your stories. As always, comments are welcome.