This blog is written by Olivia’s grandfather, David Branson…
Without exception the most difficult thing I have had to deal with in my life was the diagnosis and then the death of my granddaughter from Childhood brain cancer. The road for treatment was long and had many up’s and down’s along the journey. I hope to share with you here some of the emotions, challenges, and spiritual moments that occurred during this time.
As a father and grandfather, I want to be the protector of my family. I want to be there to help heal, take the pain away or at least make it more bearable for my children and family. At times I was able to do that with some loving words, actions, or a hug. Cancer however; leaves a hurt that is not measureable or at times consolable. I pray in my lifetime that I will never have to see my children and wife cry as hard as they did during the ordeal. The amazing thing about my granddaughter Olivia is that many times she was the one the lifted us all up with her beautiful smile, and gentle loving way. She is the most courageous person I have ever known.
I was very torn in my role as father and grandfather. I wanted to be strong, be supportive, and try to be the glue to help hold things together. So most of the time my weeping and breakdowns happened alone or with my loving wife, who lifted me up many times. I so much wanted to have control and fix the problem. Cancer however made that impossible. Cancer has changed my life forever; I will never be the same again. I will never be able to hold my granddaughter, kiss her, watch her grow up, see her play.
Faith, family and friends are the keys for me to keep moving forward. I know in my heart there is a reason for what has occurred, I don’t understand the reason now, but I have faith that some good will come from all of this. I love my family and my extended family more now then at any other point in my life. We have a powerful bond that Olivia helped to create in us.
So, to the other fathers and grandfathers out in the world in this situation, may I make these suggestions. Stay hopeful, love your family, and laugh when you can, cry when you must, tell your family you love them every day. Keep your faith, and trust in the goodness in life. You do not know what the future holds, so live each day to the fullest, support and love your children and grandchildren. Take in every moment with your child that is battling cancer, smile, give them love, and pray for a good outcome.