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By olpilot On 2013.06.28 02:08
Many years ago I knew a man with a booming voice, a larger than life, to me anyway persona. He was my grandfather, my mothers dad, who she always said I was just like. A compliment I have always relished. I didn't get to spend the time with him I would have liked but I did get to see things, and in hindsight are all to familiar. He passed away in 1973, I was 21 at the time in the Air Force a continent away and didn't get to say good bye but there are things I saw then that I see now everytime I look in the mirror.I remember back when I was young this man ate his peas of a knife, something that was evidently quite popular among certain people, of german decent I think, but he did this. He had a booming voice I remember him yelling at my cousin that he and my grandmother raised as their own. The only cousin I I have. that knew him that is older than me. I saw a steady decline in him in the very short time I can recall from those years. He was a carpenter, back when you sawed wood by hand, you plannd boards level by hand. It took physical strenght and knowledge to build, From my early memories to my last was about 15 years and in that time I saw a man go from larger than life to a whispering, shuffling, shaking shell of his former self. No ome ever said Parkinson's, not really sure if they even knew it then. They were very poor, he may have been a good carpenter, but in the early 60's there was not much to help a fellow who had something going wrong, that even today takes more intuistion than skill to diagnose.It is so hard to imagine what it must have been like to for no understandable reason just deteriorate from a useful human to a guy who just needed to sleep. In the later year that is what I remember most is his always sleeping and the chair that no one else could sit in because it was where he spent most of his time. How difficult it must have been for my grandmother to become a caregiver and have no idea whar was happening to them. I never got a chance to talk to my mother or anyone else in the family about this because they are all gone now. Being the oldest of the family left, there is no one to ask what happened, what they knew, anything.I have developed a very powerful love of woodworking, I have no idea why, never did before, I have also developed Parkinson's.I just went to the basement to get somethings I had been working on on, and as I shuffled off to the steps it hit me like a ton of bricks, I move like he did, I talk like he did, my mother was right I am just like him. I've known for a couple of years what wa goiung on, but I am lucky, there are treatments I haave available to me he never dreamed of. How terrible to have this and nothing anyone could do. Levedopa came into being a few years before he passed away, my guess is being poor kept him from finding any relief, and it may have been to late anyway. Somethings haven't changed so much in the years that followed though in this country. If you are poor you are still pretty much on your own, drugs that can help and make a difference are, if you don't have good insurance are still out of reach for many. I get for example my Azilect for free now, $15.00 a month till I hit my max deductible, for some it's $900.00 per month.I don't know if any of this is hereditary ot not but I know that caring and compassion are generational and we are a generration that seems to not care anymore .Is it so hard to remember our grandparents and the hell they went through before SSA and Medicare, why do we seem hell bent on going back there? I for one remember a time when we visited my grandparents and ate canned ww2 surlpus meat and surplus cheese. Is that where we want to go again I pray not.stephen welch at 10:19 PMShare 

By LOHENGR1N On 2013.06.28 08:24
Very nice! A thought provoking and heartfelt posting, thanks for sharing it with us My friend. And thanks for sharing with our caregivers just what We might be thinking in moments when they see us staring off into nothing. You are a deep well keep writing.

By jcoff012 On 2013.06.28 16:23
Beautiful story. I appreciate it immensely, as just the other day we were discussing our grandfathers and I said I wish I had known mine better...he was always sickly, but he was very kind and sweet to us kids.

You also give me great hope that our little guy, and our son's daughter who is much older, will remember their grandpa, my husband, as you do yours. Your story was touching and honest...and sweet.

I am so glad for you that you find comfort in sharing. We are all here to listen and appreciate your story. Yes, please post more...know we care.

One last thing, for you to remember him so well, and with such great affection, he was truly a great man, for he influenced the life path of another great soul...you.

Hugs and take care of yourself, Jane ;-*

By parkinit On 2013.06.28 22:47
I had someone ask me this today: "What would you do if you couldn't afford caregivers and meds?"

I shudder to think what we would do. It would definitely be an entirely different life for both of us. I would probably still be working at least one job and he would have to be in a home of some type. We would really be struggling financially.


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