“Can you say that again, please?” my grandmother asked me for the seventh time as we discussed the weather for the upcoming week. She didn’t ask me seven times because I’m a teenager and mumble a lot, but rather because of a nasty culprit: Alzheimer’s disease.
Just like the conversation about the weather, any other conversation that anyone has with my grandmother takes patience. When my grandmother went to the bank and couldn’t remember what she was doing, the tellers were kind enough to talk to her and calm her down. As a result, when I am working and a grandparent doesn’t know how to correctly fill out a form for their grandson’s photos, I take time to make sure that he or she understands everything. As President of Student Council and the Board of Education Representative for my school, I have to use my patience and politeness on a daily basis.
Just the other day a student came running up to me and said “we need to change the homecoming parade because we have SAT’s that morning!” My next step was to walk down to the principal’s office without losing my patience because of the poor scheduling. I then worked out an agreement which with the administration, which would not have happened if I lost my temper.
Another lesson that I have learned from my grandmother and everyone around her who loves her, especially my grandfather, is to never give up. When she didn’t remember how to make a salad the other night, she persisted. Eventually she finished it even though it was missing carrots and onions along with having an excess amount of tomatoes. When I was doing landscaping this summer, I put some plants in the wrong spot, and I began to get upset but instead I thought of my grandmother and how she must get aggravated every day because she cannot even do simple chores. This made me realize that getting angry at little mistakes I can correct is not productive.
I’ve learned to overcome my fears in life because life is too short. I am sure my grandpa never imagined that my grandmother who once ran the household and took care of my mom and her sister would need round the clock care. I’ve realized that I need to be spontaneous, like when I sprinted up the side of Mount Washington to reach the best view, or when I closed my eyes and randomly pointed to a food on Moby Dick’s restaurant menu before ordering it.
Although it takes extra work to spend time with my grandmother, the lessons I have learned from her are invaluable. When I hear her say “thank you,” in a soft whisper with a look of confusion on her face, I almost break down into tears, but instead I reply “you’re welcome.”
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