I want to tell you this story from my life.

My older daughter and I were always very close but with her divorce 20 years ago she made big changes in her life, her mothering; she pulled away from her daughters and me as far as she could.   She became very cool toward me.  On the positive side, I grew closer to my grandchild who really needed my attention.

But the heart of my story started 8 years ago when my granddaughter was rushed by ambulance to the hospital with a massive tumor in her brain. It had spread from the allegedly successful treatment for lymphoma.  At the time my daughter called me and asked me to come and give her some support. I took the first plane to Tucson and arrived at the hospital that afternoon.

My daughter was overwhelmed and exhausted. She had spent the previous night on a cot in the hospital room. I told her I could help out and we alternated nights sleeping next to my granddaughter until she went to the ICU and then surgery.

Subsequently my granddaughter returned to her mother’s home in the care of hospice. I stayed for that summer with both of them and during that time, we grew closer as my daughter’s distrust of me began to lessen. She grew from being guarded with me to open and loving. At the end of September following that summer, my granddaughter died at the age of 22. In the 8 years since her death, my daughter and I have become even closer. She writes embarrassing paeans to me on Facebook on my birthday. In my cancer journey, she has become my strongest support even though she is now 5,000 miles away. Even over that distance, I feel as though she is watching over me. What was such a painful estrangement became a loving relationship through the grief and suffering we shared.

May this story feed you and be a shelter for your life.