This story is long overdue but I wanted to find the perfect words to describe my Grandad's journey as well as mine. When I look over my life experiences with him I have realised that I wouldn't change a thing because there is always good things to find even when you feel like you can't find any. You just have to look at it in a different way and I didn't notice that until now. I guess I want people to not make the same mistakes as I did & to find a more peaceful way of dealing with it. Its important I share my story, I owe that to my Grandfather.
My whole life (I am 23) my Grandad suffered from Parkinson's so I never really had that 'traditional' Grandaughter- Grandfather experience like my other friends do. They would go for walks & play in the park and I would hold both of my Grandads hands & walk him around the living room. Instead of him helping to feed me, I would help feed him. Saying it wasn't difficult to see my Grandad struggle with his illness would be a lie but at the same time he did it with such grace. He never once complained & I have epilepsy & complain all the time! But him, never. I think he just realised how much he loved us and how much we loved him and we never saw him differently.
I'm Italian so my Grandad was very old school & strict according to my mum but to me he was the kindest soul I have ever met & if he didn't have Parkinson's I don't think he would have been this gracious person & I truly believe that. People say things like "It doesn't define who you are..." and I do agree with that to a degree because if you think it about it, its a part of you (just like my epilepsy) and Yes it doesn't define who you are but it makes you a better person, a stronger person. Whether you're a family member who is struggling or someone who is dealing with parkinson's themselves. It makes you a better person because you gain empathy and empathy isn't something you're born with, its a quality that very few people have. Never lose sight of that. It doesn't define you at all but it makes you stronger & an inspiration to thousands of families & people who have to go through this everyday. You're the sign of hope.
Here is what I want you to focus on, or think about. How many times has your mother or father or children told you that they love you? And how many times have you really appreciated and remembered those words? To me, when my mother says it to me, I don't take it in so much (which I realise now I should) but when my Grandad said it, I remember. I said my "goodnight, I love you" to him and I was walking away without expecting a reply (because this was when he had lost his speech) and all of a sudden he said in Italian "I love you too,my darling." Perfectly, beautifully, easily, without a single stutter. This was over 4 years ago, yet I remember what I was wearing, how I felt, the smile I had on my face. It was a rare, precious moment- yet I can't remember those moments with other family members who say it to me on a day to day basis. The point I am trying to make is your loved one or you may lose your speech one day but you need to remember something, to never give up because when you least expect it, you'll be surprised at some pretty incredible moments you will create.
Anyways, my Grandad passed away 3 years ago & I have only started to write this now because he was like my father figure & I loved him so much. I was the closest to him out of us grandkids because I spent alot of my time with him when he still had his speech- I got to know who he was.We don't remember him as an illness or a shadow of his Parkinson's disease and neither should you.
Please anyone who may have loved ones and needs advice please message me I would love to help.
My heart goes out to all of you and everyone here is stronger than you think.