|Birth: ||Jan. 21, 1953|
South Carolina, USA
|Death: ||Sep. 6, 2006|
South Carolina, USA
Written by Greg's Daughter--Julie Spies Baxley
I wrote this Wednesday, September 05, 2007, Father's day brought it to mind.
One year ago I lost the most important man in my life next to my husband. He was the kind of man that most will never be. SFC Gregory B. Cook, a husband, a dad, a grandpa, brother, son, and friend to all he met, was taken away so fast. Sometimes you wonder why people are put here, what is God's purpose for them? Why put someone in your life for such a short time? I have no doubt that one of Greg's many purposes was to be my father. I believe God sent him to me as a mentor and a friend.
It all happened so fast. He didn't feel good, that was all. I regret all of the times that I picked on him for getting old and being so tired. Who knew? He worked everyday, came home and took care of the things to be done there, and still tryed to make time for his family. All while his body was fighting cancer, how long was he sick before we knew?
It was a Wednesday, he came from work early, went to the doctor, pnuemonia, no biggy. A couple of hours later the doctor called, they saw something on the x-ray, maybe just fluid. Thursday, a visit to the pulmonary doctor, and he wanted to do an endoscopy to see a little better, but don't worry. My husband took Greg to the hospital and helped him settle in. Friday-time for the endoscopy, it felt like we waited outside for the doctor forever. We saw the doctor leave, but he didn't say anything. The doors opened, I heard Greg cough. They wheeled him out. He was still groggy, but I asked him what they said, he said,"they saw something, did a biopsy to be safe". And then he shut his eyes. The orderly pushing him asked us if the doctor talked with us, and since he didn't, she told us to step inside the doors and wait. A nurse called the doctor, Brian and I stood and the desk, she handed Brian the phone. I heard Brian say uh-huh a couple of times, and I saw the color drain from his face. I knew. I shook so hard, I couldn't breathe, I could barely walk. Brian helped me to the car, I couldn't go up and face Greg yet. By the time we got to the car Brian was on the phone with someone, but I don't remember who. I fell on the pavement and couldn't stop crying and yelling. Brian got me in the car I remember kicking the dash and yelling "DAMN IT" over and over. Now was time to call my mom and let her know. Brian and I were the only ones who knew. After I stopped yelling, and caught my breath, we went up to his room. We had decided not to tell him anything until the biopsy came back and we knew for sure. God gives us unbelievable grace, I stepped in the room completely dry eyed, talked with him for a while, joked, gave him a hug and headed home. Something that I will never forget is him sitting on the edge of the bed, he said, " thank God they didn't say the c-word, I'da crapped myself." After that I had to leave, it didn't feel right not to tell him, but why worry him until we knew for sure.
Now, things over the next couple of weeks get kinda jumbled in my mind. The biopsy came back, small cell lung cancer. It had spread, it was not curable, but treatable. We were given a couple of years, which at that time sounded like a death sentence, now a couple of years sounds like a God send. He was home on and off, but spent most of the time in the hospital. The world kept moving and we were standing still, terrified to move. Every opportunity to get better kept getting knocked away, it's like he couldn't catch a break. The last night that he was home we decided to get some friends and family together to pray for treatments to be swift and healing. That was the night that Greg gave his soul to the Lord, and I thank God for that reassurance. He was saved, his last night home.
Brian and Greg loaded up in the truck and headed to the hospital. They settled in for the first dose of chemo. This kind of cancer was supposed to respond well the medicine. Within moments of starting, Brian saw Greg shoot up out of his chair. He couldn't breathe. He was allergic to the chemo. Back in the hospital, but this time he didn't come home. His lungs kept filling with fluid, so they kept draining them. Alright, time for plan B. Internal radiation, this was supposed to be a blessing in disguise. A better treatment that insurance won't pay for unless you can't handle chemo. The night before the first radiation treatment, I took Greg a sandwich and had a couple of minutes to talk. They had already "mapped" his chest to locate the tumor, this left a bunch of magic marker on his chest. He pulled up his shirt to show it to me, it marked where the tumor was. There was something eery about knowing exactly where it was. I told him that he just had to keep fighting and that we were all fighting with him. I got ready to leave, he stood up to hug me. I'll never forget that hug, he was shaking, but still felt strong, I remember the smell of his t-shirt, he layed his head on top of mine. He didn't want to let go, he was scared. So was I. He cried a little and I cried a lot. We said that we would talk to each other tomorrow and I left.
This was the treatment, this was gonna fix this train wreck. He went down for the radiation. He came back to his room. He was scheduled to go home the next morning. I talked with him at about 7:30 that night. We joked about him coming home. He sounded different, less breathy, he said he could feel that something was different. We both said I love you and that we'd see each other tomorrow. Things were finally going right.
Around an hour later my mom called and said Greg was in ICU. I rushed my kids to Brian's mom's house and hurried to my mom's house to pick her up. I don't know how I got there, but I got there fast. By the time we go to the hospital he was on a respirator. They couldn't tell us what was wrong or what happened just that he couldn't breathe on his own, and this was gonna help his lungs rest and heal. I don't remember how long he was in ICU, but 9 days is what I'm thinking. They told us that there was nothing else they could do he was not getting better, the respirator was what was keeping him alive. How could someone so strong be dependent on a machine? They told us that we would have to take it off. Septemeber 5, 2006 we each had our time to say our peace. It was hard for him to communicate with the tube, but he made his point. He was done, tired, ready to go. I thank God for my last moments with him. I had a chance to tell him things I never had before, things I'm sure he knew, but I couldn't let him leave this world without telling him. I leaned over and told him, " Thank you for taking care of my mother, thank you for taking care of us, loving me, even if you didn't have to. I know you tried, I know that you fought as hard as you could, and it's ok. I'm proud of you. So proud of you. I know you're not giving up. It's ok to wanna go. I love you so much Greg. I love you so much Daddy." He nodded his head as I talked, his eyes were shut, and tears rolled out. Brian, my mother, Preacher Barnes, and I repeated John 3:16 to him and sang Jesus loves me. Soon after we left.
The next days were filled with relatives from near and far. Lots of planning. We all gathered for a beautiful full military service that he would've loved. All of the people amazed me. People he had never even met. It was over 5 weeks after it had started. 5 weeks, that was all. Our lives were so different.
Most people never read these things, especially ones this long. I would like to close with these thoughts. It is never to late to give your heart to Jesus, He will gladly welcome you. Also, Greg didn't have to be my dad but he chose to, he made me who I am. If you have a chance to love someone, do it whole heartedly like he did, you never know what kind of impact that can have on someone's life.
Greg Cook, leave room for my mansion beside yours. I love you Daddy!
Southland Memorial Gardens
South Carolina, USA
Created by: Victoria (Kocher) Cook
Record added: Oct 24, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 60585898