Today I am going to tell you a story about love and hope. If you haven’t seen the Introduction post for the new and improved Powered Crowd go here. In short Powered Crowd is now going to narrow it’s platform to bettering and empowering ourselves as well as overcoming our obstacles. Because as mentioned in the linked post I know that once we, as a person, are empowered we can then fully empower others. Storytelling is a big component in this goal and I won’t go into to it too much more as It’s all explained here but today will be a prime example of how stories can leave us feeling more empowered.
So today’s lesson and story will be about two people dear to my heart. My Grandparents. I am lucky to have been blessed with wonderful grandparent’s on both my mom and dad’s side. Both have amazing things to teach and are amazing human beings. Today’s story is about one set of those grandparent’s and their story.
Ok, Ok, enough preamble, let’s jump right in. My grandparent’s met in 1958 my grandmother was18 and my grandfather was 24.The way my grandmother tells the story is pretty great. The first time she met him was a University, he was at the “help” desk they were both waiting in line and talked a bit but nothing too major. Soon they went their separate ways and that was that. No lightning no instant rush of emotions just a random meeting with friendly conversation.
The next time they met was at a school dance, they talked to each other a bit. My grandfather was showing off a bit with his friends and my grandmother noticed him, as the night went on she started to like him a bit but of course this was 1958 so she played it cool and flirted a bit but in a total modest and subtle way.
A couple day’s later she was pleasantly surprised when she got a phone call from none other than my Grandfather. She was sure he was going to ask her out but instead he asked her for her friends number because he wanted to ask her out! My Grandmother was decently upset as she thought the call was for her. The anger stayed for a while but was diminished with time.
They then met a third time. Some time had passed since the phone call incident and my grandmother went out to another dance where low and behold my grandfather was there as well. He was really shy apparently and asked her to dance. Who knows what was going through my grandmothers head at the moment, dancing with the man who asked her friend out but from the way she tells it I think she enjoyed their dancing quite a bit. There was only one problem… she couldn’t remember his name! My grandfather soon discovered this fact and apparently he thought it was because she didn’t like him, which as I stated I think she definitely did. Quite a turbulent start if I say so myself, good new is they ended up dating and then of course they then got married and had children and then grandchildren(like moi) From there on their relationship bloomed and so many other priceless stories can be said about their relationship but those won’t be for today as today’s story goes down a different path.
My Grandfather as I knew him was a happy guy, he always struck conversation with strangers and made everyone smile wherever he went. My Grandfather and Grandmother weren’t rich when they were raising my dad and his brothers but my grandfather who was a teacher would give his own money to any child who didn’t have a lunch. That is just one of a million examples that showed what a kind hearted guy he was.
I feel tears rise up when I hear about this amazing man,(and here is where the story takes a sad turn) the reason for those tears being that today I don’t have a clear picture of this happy man, instead I have a picture of the same man affected by a terrible disease, Alzheimer’s. As this is how I have known him for years and years. Even with this disease he was still such a kind person. When he got to the point where he didn’t know who I was or who his son’s were he still gave us a smile every time we came in to visit and unlike most Alzheimer’s patients he wasn’t violent.
My grandmother was especially sad to see this turn in event’s (quite understandably). I remember my family one Christmas talking in the kitchen about how my grandfather was forgetting a lot of things and they were a bit worried but my grandmother was adamant that he was going to be fine. Soon however it became too obvious for anyone to be able to deny it My grandmother who is one though cookie, took care of him and his increasing forgetfulness as well as battling cancer. They lived on their own and they managed because as I sad my grandfather is a pretty amazing guy and my grandmother is pretty badass. His outbursts where usually not violent with an exception for one night when he rushed to the Tv to attack some cowboys who were hurting a girl on the TV ( I mean isn’t that too sweet, he was trying to protect the girl on the TV. Less fun I guess for my grandmother who was dealing with it)
Soon my grandmother though as she is couldn’t take care of him anymore, her cancer was getting worse. My grandfather went in a home and year by year he was less and less himself. He started forgetting people in his life and eventually he even forgot his wife.
Now the funny thing with Alzheimer’s is that we don’t know everything about it. Some days were better than others, some days I could swear he knew who I was or knew who my grandmother was. Some days he looked off in the distance and didn’t respond to anything. His mouth hung open and his eyes looked empty.
Good day or bad my grandmother would visit very often. She would bring him treats and feed them to him, she would make sure he was getting well taken care of. She soon knew the other patients by name and all the nurses as well.
After being very sick she moved out of her independent living quarters into the same building as my grandfather. They were in different sections of the building but she would visit him almost everyday. On the day my grandfather died I was the last family member to see him. I went in on the spur of the moment, I had an extra treat from an event I attended nearby and thought I would pop in and give it to him. I went in, gave him the chocolate treat and he was not really responsive to anything I said. Though he sure loved that treat! I tried talking to him but I saw that it just wasn’t the type of day where he would even be able to make some sounds that he knew I was speaking to him.
The next day my parent’s informed me that he had passed away. His funeral had a massive turnout and we all reminisced on how he made each of us happier. Even some of his old students from who knows how many years ago showed up. Unlike most funerals in respect to this happy and wonderful man we sang some songs and shared our stories about him.
Now how do all the pieces of this story click together? I mentioned how no one knows how Alzheimer’s really worked. Does the person affected know who is next to them? Can they process or think or does the brain slowly shut down? I don’t have those answers but I do know that my Grandmother never stopped loving my grandfather even when it seemed he had no clue who she was. She hoped that he would somehow know she was there and that it would bring him some reassurance of joy.
When my grandfather passed away we all kept that love for him and the hope he was somewhere better now. It was all we had to go on. Until a couple day’s ago.
My grandmother as I said was in the same building as my grandfather. A little while had passed since my grandfather had passed away and my grandmother was in her room doing her thing when a nurse came by and said “Is your name Luella?”
My grandmother said yes and the nurse continued with:
“I have been wanting to talk to you but I hadn’t been assigned to this floor until now. I was on duty when your husband passed away and I knew I had to tell you what happened in his last moment. Right before he passed away he told us ‘Tell Luella hi;”
Now that might seem like much but considering he hadn’t recognized us for about a year and was practically non verbal save a few nonsensical words here and there every now and then it is pretty darn amazing. It shows that my grandmother’s hope and Love might very well have made a difference in the end.
Now how can this connect to your life?
We all do things that we sometimes believe is useless.
“I’m starting this business but it’s useless, I’ll never reach my goals. I teach my sibling with a severe learning disorder her letter’s everyday but it’s useless, she’ll never be able to read. I read to my comatose child everyday but it’s useless the doctors say she will probably never wake up.”
One thing I find however is that nothing is ever useless even though it might seem like it is. Every step backward or forward brings us something. Be it happiness, a lesson, a new path to travel etc.. When it comes to love and hope a step a step in that direction can never, ever be considered useless.
Will things always turn out perfect? No, my grandfather didn’t miraculously overcome Alzheimer’s but one thing no one can take back from you is your hope and your love. It is one of our gifts and when it is shared amazing things can happen. In my grandfather and grandmothers example, my grandmother was able to say that all her caring and her continuous hope for my grandfather was worth it in the end. If you put hope and love into something unconditionally you will see rewards, it might not be for a long long time, like the case of my grandmother where it was years of taking care of my grandfather before he passed away but I promise you will always see some rewards in the end. Some of them as priceless as a goodbye from someone who seemed to have lost all his memories.
What is your view on Love and Hope? Leave them down below and let’s have a discussion!
Do you want to know how my Grandmother is also a medical miracle? How she was told her time on this earth was numbered and she defeated all odds? Comment below if you want to know that inspiring story!
Until next time use the power of storytelling, empower yourself and those around you and be part of Powered Crowd.