Never too late to learn until it’s truly too late

Recently, my grandfather hurt himself. He broke his femur in 3 places. Now for an 82 yr old man, that’s really no joke. To compound matters, my grandfather is the sole caretaker of my grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 5 years ago. And even though neither of them are young anymore, he has taken all of the burden on himself, never asking for help, and even hiding things from us kids so we wouldn’t worry. But now with him in the hospital my family and I are taking care of her, and I’ve learned a few things over the last few days.

1. My grandfather is Superman. At 82 he does a better job of taking care of my grandmother than those of us 30-50 years younger. He is her rock and no amount of attention can replace what my grandfather does for her. So this week I learned that if I can someday be half the man my grandfather is, I’ll be doing pretty good.

2. My grandmother is pretty damn cool. It’s really a shame, and it’s a guilt that will be with me for a while, that it took me until advanced Alzheimer’s had taken over to get to know my grandmother. I never knew exactly how my grandparents met, or that my grandmother was a bit of a tomboy, delivering papers at a young age and ice skating with the boys because all the girls in the neighborhood were “a bunch of crabby, gossiping sissy’s” (her exact words) My grandmother was more than the woman who (with my grandfather) did an amazing job raising 5 kids, she is kind of badass. So my grandmother can repeat the same stories to me over and over and I’ll never get tired of listening, because she’s an amazing woman who deserves to be heard. And even if I learn a small new thing every day, it will have been worth it.

So here’s my final thought. Not everyone has the luxury of having their grandparents around, some people don’t even have their parents. But if you do, appreciate them, because take it from me, if you don’t, you have no idea what you’re missing


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