Why did they put ‘Family’ and ‘Family Member’ one after the other… Haha… Oh well
The family member I’m choosing to base this on is my grandfather. I know it’s really easy to say he’s the most gentle man, but honestly, he’s the strongest man I know. I’m going to start from the beginning though. Fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a long ride.
As a child, I always looked up to my grandfather. He was the one I always wanted to be around because he made me laugh all of the time. He knew exactly what kind of humour I liked and he also introduced me to my love of fiddle music [reasons why I enjoy highland dancing.] Staying at my grandparent’s place, we used to drive all over the countryside. We would visit abandoned houses, farms, little towns, small malls, grocery shop and visit my grandparent’s friends. There was always adventure in store while we stayed at Grandma and Granddads.
My grandfather was the one who taught me how to snap my fingers and whistle. He was the one that always played hide-and-go-seek with me. Early in the mornings after breakfast, my brother and I would get dressed and then all of a sudden you would hear the ride’em lawn mower start up, the smell of gas would fill the air and then that familiar CLUNK sound would rattle our ear drums… It was tractor riding time!
My grandfather would hook up a trailer on the back of his lawn mower and while he cut the grass, my brother, some of the neighbour’s kids and myself would hop on the back and enjoy the ride around their huge backyard. Some of us would hop off and run behind the tractor and try and get back on, some not so lucky, but usually, my Granddad would slow down and make us think we caught up haha.
After the lawn mower rides grandma always had a snack ready for us. Melba toast, grapes, cheese and pickles for me.
However, with all the great things that came with being at my grandparents, my grandfather started to get weak. He never showed it, but you could tell. My grandfather has diabetes. It was so bad that he had sores on his feet that would never heal. He would wake up in the night with pains in his legs and wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep.
As I got older, I noticed that he wasn’t able to chase me down the hallway or into the kitchen, he didn’t have the energy to play hide-and-go-seek and he didn’t spend much time down in his workshop. He even stopped riding the lawn mower because the pressure on his feet was too much.
There was one day my grandmother had noticed that he had a red line going up his leg… She rushed him to the hospital to get it checked out and was told by the doctors that if she had waited any longer to bring him in, that line could have killed him. That was when he was told he had to have both legs from the knee caps down amputated. I had never seen such a strong positive man so weak. He was moved to the hospital in Kingston, ON. The day after he had his surgery my mother drove me up to Kingston to see him. My dad was already there, my aunts and uncles were there too. My grandmother came to see me in the waiting room and I just hugged her. She asked me how I was doing but I didn’t know how to reply. She then took my hand and lead me into his room. My grandfather was laying in the hospital bed with tubes tied all over him, white as a ghost and what looked like fast asleep. He seemed like he was finally past the pain that he had been experiencing the past 7 years. As I looked at him I could tell where his legs were missing. My Grandma nudged me and told me to give him a hug, so I grabbed his hand and told him it was ‘Meghan’. I leant in and hugged him and then all of a sudden I felt his arms wrap around me. He was crying “oh my sweet little Meghan. I love you so much…. My feet are so cold, Meghan.” I didn’t know what to tell him, so I just held him. I hadn’t been crying just yet, but then I felt something wet touch my face… He was crying, which made me cry. It was probably one of the most precious moments of my life and a nurse came and ruined it. My Grandma held my hand and then walked me out fo the room.
As sad as that got… There is some good in this. My grandfather fully recovered from his amputation. Some complications with the healing process, but nothing out fo the norm. He got his prosthetics and a walker and to this day I have never seen my grandfather so active and so healthy looking. He’s back to his normal self, doing normal things, but with just a little helping hand from my grandmother. He also has this cool driving contraption. The prosthetics make it impossible for him to drive because he can’t feel the pedals… So he was able to get a little knob on his wheel and he accelerates and brakes with a little lever on the left side of the steering wheel right by his indicators. Pretty impressive, I must admit!
Check out the mini-doc I made in college about it all. CLICK HERE!
Right now my grandfather is 85 years old. Living happily in his home with his wife in Brighton, just East of Toronto. I email my grandmother on a regular basis just to check in with them. Now that I work full time it’s really difficult to go see them, but I know they know I think of them a lot. I love them both so much and have so much respect for them and how much they went through during that rough period of time. In the end, they still love each other as much as they did the first time they met in that bar… If not, more.