Passing Away


Tatum Tylke, Staff Writer

 Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, which means many families lose someone to cancer. There are many kinds of cancer, each one affecting a different area of the body. If treated, you can survive some forms of cancer. Otherwise, you cannot. I’m going to share with you a true story about someone who did not survive cancer. 

When I was 10, I lost my grandmother to cancer when she was 58. I don’t know what kind of cancer. I can’t remember all the details. It’s all quite vague. What I do know is that I lost Grandma G. 

When we found out that Grandma G had cancer, it was a shock. She smoked in her past, yes, but it was still very sudden. After being diagnosed, she still lived her lifestyle. Nothing (except having chemotherapy done) changed. Later, the chemotherapy did become noticeable.

Her hair had started to fall out, which is a side effect of the treatment. She came to my brother’s birthday with a pixie cut. It was hard to see that, even when she had a smile on her face. I think she just wanted to act like everything was going to be fine, and nothing more was going to happen. More did happen, though. 

There is no accurate prediction for how long cancer lasts before it’s fatal. It varies from a couple of months to a year. I believe it was after some months that cancer started to affect my grandmother. She had to move in with my cousins, so they could care for her. From that point on, we visited her every day after school. After school, my brother and I would sit on the couch next to her and read a short book, like “Cat in the Hat”. It was hard for me. I remember having to hold back tears, as I read. 


Her condition got worse and worse. When she first was at my cousins’, she was able to walk around. But, as time went on, she ended up staying in one place, unable to move long distances. She slept and used the restroom all in one room. It was hard to see my Grandma like this and think of all the times she came over and ran around with us.

I remember every Thursday she came over to our house and brought a large bottle of Dr. Pepper. We had the same meal every time: turkey burgers with cheese in the middle and barbeque sauce. After we ate she would help us with our homework and then play with us. We’d always play hide and seek, and anytime it was her turn, she would hide in the same four spots. I miss that. 


The day came when she passed in her sleep. A while before, she gave my brother, my cousins, and me little statues of native women holding dream catchers. She told us that she will always watch over us with those. 

We placed those statues out at her funeral. Her ashes spread in the woods, where we thought she would want to be. She loved nature.


It’s hard to think about her now. To think about everything we did with her, like the Thursday dinners and Easter celebrations. It’s hard to think about how we could still do these things with her today, but cancer took that away. All I have now are vague memories of her. Of Grandma G.