Most people have at least one role model sometime in their life, whether it be a mother, grandmother or a celebrity. Well, my grandfather is one of mine. When I was younger, I would always copy him. I would say the jokes he would say, I would sing the songs he sang. Whenever I broke a vase or spilled a glass of milk, he would always make sure that I knew it was a mistake. He was also the father figure in my life so I have always looked up to him. We used to go fishing all the time together and he was convinced that I had to go hunting with him eventually.

When he was younger, he was in the Vietnam War while having a family at home all four years. He was a soldier and still is. He developed Parkinson's disease about eight years ago. This disease is progressive and slowly eats away at brain tissue. It causes tremors; it reduces facial expressions, makes walking difficult, and contributes to dementia. My grandfather has always been strong, but this has pushed him to his limit. He developed tremors that cause his hands to shake and makes him unable to hold cups or pour things. Long story short, it is not a good disease.

After the diagnosis, his personality really did not change. He still makes the same silly jokes and still makes sure his wife knows how much he loves her. He is always optimistic and never sheds a tear over his illness. He still loves to fish and always talks about going bear hunting. He is the strongest, most patient man I have ever and will ever see. I wish I could put into words how much he means to me but all I can say is that I love him to the moon and back. I know I will always be his little girl and I would not want it any other way.

Love ya Pappaw,

Nat