To The Grandparents Who Never Gave Up On Me

To The Grandparents Who Never Gave Up On Me

Family means no one gets left behind.
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To my loving grandparents,

You have shown me how important family is. You have shown me how important it is to be there for another, especially in very difficult times. You have both shown me how to be strong individuals and only grow from past experiences. You have shown me to not dwell on the past and always look ahead. Anything is possible if I put my mind to it.

Every story has a lesson to it, and I have learned something new each time you speak. I love learning of how you two met, what it was like to raise my dad, aunt and uncles. I look forward to each holiday and just being with you and the rest of our family. Our memories and laughs is something I will take with me no matter where I go.

Papa, you are the strongest man I know. Your stories never fail to make me smile and remember a time I never experienced. In a time where it seems like nothing is possible, I know you can get through anything. I know things might not be going in the direction you wish they were. We've just hit a little bumpy road and together, as a family, we can get through anything.

Nanny, you are easily the strongest woman I know. You are empowered and never let anyone walk over you. You are intelligent and beautiful, strong-willed and cannot be knocked down. In the most difficult time, you have stood by your husband's side and never once thought of leaving. This moment in our lives is hard and we are all scared for what may come. But you have been strong and constantly wanting to know and understand what can happen next.

I learned to crawl in your old home, went swimming in your old pool. You never gave up on me, even when I gave up on myself. You pushed me to choose a career path I will be happy with. You told me to keep my chin high when all I wanted to do was curl up. You told me that it was okay to cry, even when you are supposed to be the strong one.

I take our memories wherever I go.

We have hit a stand still in our seemingly never restful lives. Hospital visits are never ideal, driving in and out of the city may be a pain, but it is all to reach the best outcome imaginable. You two are the strongest people I know, both as a couple and individually. Together, you two can do anything and I have strong faith that you will.

I love you both unconditionally and will always be here for you. Whenever you need me, for whatever you need me for, I will be there. Family is important and we need one another to stay strong and keep our heads up.

In the wise words of Lilo and Stitch, "Ohana" means "family." "Family" means "no one gets left behind."

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Kit Kat On A Rainy Day

My grandpa went missing one rainy afternoon, but what happened later is very heartwarming!

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It was a rainy afternoon in the middle of October. The road was covered in an almost invisible film of water, and mud seeped through the cracks of the sidewalk. The wind blew at a harsh and firm angle. The temperature was sharp and bitter. I was in 10th grade at the time and had just gotten back to school. I sat at my desk upstairs with my legs comfortably nuzzled against my chest. I admired the lavender fuzzy socks on my feet while very blatantly ignoring my homework and other responsibilities. I gently sipped warm apple cider, carefully making sure that it wouldn't burn my tongue whilst scrolling through my phone. This rainy afternoon in the middle of October was seemingly very normal.

I eventually picked up a pencil and reluctantly began my homework, but was very quickly distracted by the sounds of panicked yelling coming from downstairs. I quickly made my way to the scene so that I could figure out what was going on. My mom and grandma were in the kitchen crying and screaming. My grandma sounded agitated and afraid. My mom was barely able to make out coherent sentences as she scrambled to find my dad's contact in her phone. I shuddered and felt completely frozen when I was finally able to understand what was going on.

My 85-year-old grandpa who also has Alzheimer's was missing from our home. My stream of consciousness was abruptly interrupted as I heard the door leading to our garage slam shut. My mom was going to drive around our neighborhood to look for my grandpa, as he realistically could not have made it that far. I went back upstairs and sunk into my chair. My eyes were wide and I could hear my heart beating outside of my chest. I trembled and cried. These are the kinds of horrible and unfortunate stories that you read about or watch in the news. You never expect it to happen to a loved one. The gravity of the situation is heavy. It's a very obscure and different kind of pain, one that cannot be justified with words.

The next thirty or so minutes were a blur. I was not aware of how much time had passed, but I do remember hearing the slow creak of the garage open. I did not get up and I did not run down the stairs. Instead, I sat there. I sat firmly in my chair, numb and completely frozen. From where I was, everything was temporarily easier. The pain of sitting at my desk was less scathing than confronting whatever was waiting downstairs. And then, all of a sudden, I heard very slow and uneven steps coming up the stairs, accompanied by heavy breathing. It was my grandpa.

There he was, standing about three feet in front of me. I examined him, head-to-toe. He was soaked and there were remnants of mud on his pants and shoes. His glasses were covered in intricate droplets of water, and his light grey hair was disheveled. But that is not what stood out to me. What made me want to cry even more was the smile on his face that was beaming with love, as his eyes met mine. He steadily walked towards me, put his hand in his pocket, and I watched his fragile hands shake as he pulled out a Kit Kat bar.

"For you!" He said with a little laugh.

- - -

My mom had found my grandpa in a Walgreens right outside our neighborhood. To this day I still don't know how he got there, and I do not care to know the exact fundamentals of how he got from point A to point B. This is a man whose life and memories have been unfairly taken from him. This is a man who can barely make out a sentence in either Hindi or English. This is a man who, to this very day, cannot remember my name or who I am. However, what this disease has failed to do is strip him of his innate kindness. His mind might be impaired but his ability to love is immortal and unbreakable.

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