A Grandmother’s Love and a Grandson’s Legacy

I saw you take your first breath and I watched you take your last. You were only 17 months old, Luke when you died from cancer. I am grateful that I got to share this journey with you.

We were all gathered around you on the last day just watching and waiting. I truly knew in my heart that you weren’t going to be with us much longer. I was sitting next to your mommy who was holding you when I saw you take your final breath. I whispered in your ear and told you that I would be your voice and tell others about pediatric cancer and that I would try to help others in any way that I could.

Just a week or so after you passed away, hundreds of people attended a balloon release that was organized in your honor. I was interviewed by a local paper and I told your story. Shortly after that, I also participated in a cold water plunge and again was interviewed by a local TV station.

I have continued being a voice for you on a Facebook page I manage. This allows me to share hope and to be there for others. I had an amazing opportunity to speak to a group of doctors, nurses, administrators and the President at the hospital that cared for you. I proudly participate in your honor at their annual fundraiser for their pediatric ward.

On the first birthday after you passed, I celebrated for you and was your voice by honoring the children, doctors and nurses at your hospital by bringing balloons and flowers and desserts for the staff. This is now a yearly tradition and when I leave, I go quietly to spend some time with you at your cemetery plot. I talk and you listen. I can almost hear you say to me, thank you, Grandma, for keeping your promise to be my voice.

I am not finished being your voice, Luke. This is something I will continue to do as long as I am able. Cancer took you from us physically but it didn’t take away my memories or my love for you. My faith sustained me during some of the darkest moments that one could ever imagine and I am grateful for that. Without that today, I honestly don’t know where I would be.

You are my forever, Luke; my forever hero who I will stand up for and be a voice for the rest of my life. I will love you forever. Whenever I am lonely for you, I cuddle up in your blanket and I can almost feel you cuddled in it with me.

Today I am grateful for an amazing grandparent support group I have found where I can share the real me and people don’t try to tell me “it is time to move on.” It will never be time to move on because you did exist, and you still live in my heart. You see, I saw you take that first breath.




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Comments (1)

  • hi – this is a beautiful piece. I lost one of my grandchildren – James Alexander – at 4 months from SIDS in 2015 … awful … not only did I lose a beautiful little one, I literally watched my son & daughter in law “die” inside … we have all grasped that life is precious and we must continue to be alive for each other … I wanted to share this poem I wrote after he passed:

    For sweet James …
    God put angel wings on you
    and He took you home
    We didn’t see that day coming
    Oh, how I wish we could have known
    I would have wrapped my arms around you and snuggled
    I would have kissed your sweet face so softly
    I would have played patty cake with your feet
    I love you more than you can know
    You have touched my life is special ways that will always be in my heart
    Keep smiling my sweet baby James
    MawMaw loves you …

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