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Five thousand, seven hundred and thirty-nine. That’s the number of steps I took the day cancer took you from my life. Statistics from the Canadian Cancer Society states that on average, 221 Canadians will die from cancer every day. And you Nannie, happened to be one of them on January 28th, 2017. Five thousand, seven hundred and thirty-nine steps. That number seems so small considering that day felt like an eternity. The steps I remember so clearly were the steps I took running barefoot outside to the car at the end of January. Although I had no time to put my old dirty white converse. I would simply have to put them on in the car, barefoot in the middle of a Canadian winter, it was. The drive to the hospital was excruciating. The car was full with whoever was at my house that night. My younger cousins were scared and screaming as we had rushed them into the car. The hospital is only a short drive from your house Nannie but wow did it ever go by so slow.
Five thousand, seven hundred and thirty-nine steps. I ran into the hospital like no one else was there, like no one else mattered. My heart was pounding. I could hear it in my head. Boom, boom, boom. I was shaking, and couldn’t believe this was happening. I wasn’t ready. I knew this day was coming but I still wasn’t ready. I had dropped out of university for you Nannie. But I thought we would have more time than this. It feels like you were just diagnosed yesterday. November 14th, 2016 we received the news that you had been diagnosed with malignant brain tumors and just seventy-five days later those malignant cells had moved to the rest of your body and that was it. You were gone.
Walking down the hallway knowing this was probably it I couldn’t breathe. Walking into your room and sitting next to you on your bed. Everyone was there. Oh, Nannie, I remember not being able to catch my breath. You were my everything and you were always there for me, even on my bad days, and when no one else could help me or calm me down you were there. Today, I felt so hopeless sitting there next to you and not being able to do anything to help you after all the times you have helped me. You helped me with boy problems, bad friends and self-confidence and I couldn’t do anything in that moment! I was frozen.
Then all of a sudden that was it. You opened your eyes for the first time in three days and looked around the room at everyone that was standing around your bed, then closed your eyes and took your last breath. In that moment my heart completely shattered. The nurses stood by the door waiting to take you away, but I couldn’t move. Physically I couldn’t feel anything. Nothing. Then all of a sudden the nurses were in front of me. I wasn’t able to breathe on my own. I was having a panic attack they said. Now I was the patient, no one was looking at you anymore Nannie. They were staring at me. My best friend, my everything, gone and I simply couldn’t handle it.
Five thousand, seven hundred and thirty-nine steps. Such a small number for my last day with you, that went by way too fast. I wasn’t ready but I don’t think I ever would have been ready for what I had to go through. Still, to this day I think about your last breath and I shake. I’m sorry I couldn’t have been stronger for you Nannie. I will love you forever and always. I hope you’re breathing happily and easily in heaven.