13 Life Lessons From My Grandma Battling Cancer

Wise words from a wise woman

13 Life Lessons From My Grandma With Cancer at the Honey Scoop

I am blessed to have a wonderful human being as a Grandma. My Grandma is loyal, fierce and strong. She is 82-years-old, but she certainly doesn’t act like it. Still sharp and funny as ever, and I still would not mess with her.

In the last couple of years, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We were all very caught off guard, and no one was expecting this to come. Still, this news is sinking in.

Though she struggles with this disease, her spirit is alive and well. I got to see her in Nebraska last week and was reminded at how much of a rock she is. She lived on a farm her whole life, worked very hard, married a wonderful man, and raised 3 great children (one of them being my lovely mother). She has seen many hard days, but has also experienced great joy.

82 years of life and battling cancer could give you enough wisdom for ages. I am delighted to share with you all some of her life lessons, so you can live life with a little bit more intentionality. It’s all about perspective.

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1. “In the words of Walt Disney, if you want something done, do it yourself.”

We are pretty sure Walt Disney said this, but even if not, this is still true.

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2. “Watch for your breaks, because sometimes a break only comes once in your life.”

Watch out for really great opportunities and open doors. And when you notice one, don’t just look at the door from all angles, wondering if you should go in. I am guilty of over-analyzing every situation because I fear that I will make a mistake. But these open doors require faith, that God’s got us on the other side. Instead of peeking in the open door, wondering if you should take a step, plow that darn door down and run through. You’ll be so glad you did.

2. “When things go bad, just keep moving forward.”

This can apply to any of life’s major setbacks. Even though my grandma is struggling with cancer at an old age, she still manages to put one foot in front of the other. She takes it day by day, and she doesn’t ever stop making progress. Instead of getting all mopey about our circumstances, we can persevere and run our race well (Hebrews 12:1). Even if we feel that our feet are getting heavy and it’s too exhausting to take another step, another step still counts toward the finish line.

2. “You can’t wait until you retire to start living, because sometimes things happen.”

Before the cancer, my grandma had dreams of seeing the world. But with the cancer also came a change of plans. She learned that instead of wishing away her days, she needed to be grateful for the day ahead. Focusing on the present is hard for me because I am such a future-minded thinker, but I’ve found this mindset is worth it. We never know what’s going to happen in the future, but we can be attuned to the joy of the present.

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3. “You are lucky for the freedom you have.”

My grandma lived through the Depression and wartime, and these horrific times almost seem unimaginable in 2018. But back then, many had to deal with the cards they were dealt. Even if this meant not going to school because they needed food on the table, or taking a job they hated just to survive. Now, things look different. If you have the opportunity to go to school and study what you love, or pursue your dreams, you are one of the lucky ones. If you don’t have to worry about fighting in the gruesome reality of war, you are one of the lucky ones. Let’s be grateful for being some of the lucky ones – and not be so cranky when we get that next reading assignment.

4. “Have respect for people.”

This speaks for itself. We should never think we are above someone. I don’t think I’ve met a soul who has regretted being humble.

6. “In school, focus on two different things so you can do one for a few years and then hop to the other.”

It’s not best to put all your eggs in one basket. If you pursue two different possibilities, you’ll be more skilled, and have many more options to choose from. If you don’t have this opportunity at school, then take up a hobby that you can show an employer. Maybe that’s an Etsy shop, or taking up guitar. Who knows – you might be the next big designer or rockstar. If you try a bunch of things, one of them is bound to work.

7. “Farm kids grow up more self-sufficient.”

This is obviously a biased opinion, but as someone who lived on a farm her whole life, she’s got a point.

9. “Don’t rely on your friends to solve your problems, because everybody’s got their own troubles.”

Community is very important for a healthy, happy life. But it is not healthy to dump all your issues on people, and hope for them to fix it. Friends can guide you to truth, but they are not responsible for all your problems. This can be a harsh reality, and I certainly had to learn it the hard way. It’s best if just you and God are working through your issues, and your friends will support you along the way.

8. “Twins stick together.”

My grandma had a pair of twins, and my mom was one of them. Her and my uncle are super close, and it goes to show how family can really have each other’s backs.

10. “Pets are faithful. Except for the bulls.”

So I have never had a bull as a pet, but my grandma probably has had an interesting experience with one. Pets, for the most part, have never done my Grandma wrong. She has mostly had white German shepherds, with her current pup named Angel. What a perfect name for a dog.

11. “Try to park your car in the same place because when you get older, your memory starts slipping.”

I’m sure many people can remember an anxious time after getting groceries, where you just can’t find your darn car. This is one of the worst places to be, especially if you are hitting the buttons on your keys like a crazy person. But grandma suggests that to make this process a whole lot easier, we can just park in the same general vicinity every time. Why haven’t I thought of this sooner?

13. “Make good choices while you’re young. Because when you’re 82, you take what you can get.”

Your decisions and choices all add up to where you will end up, and person you will be. Follow wisdom and knowledge, and it will certainly give back to you.

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I hope that these words put everything into perspective. It’s easy to get caught up on things that really don’t matter at the end of the day. Focus on the what’s important, like not getting a bull as a pet. Life is best when it’s lived with intentionality.

Grandma’s wonderful words of wisdom are quite a light. She is such a light in my life, and how cool that she can be a light in yours. The human soul is a beautiful thing.

What life lessons has your grandma taught you?Comment below!

August 13, 2018

Faith, Lifestyle, Stories


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