I believe that grandparents are heroes. The ones who are unconditional to us in both pride and love, providing that special support that only they can give.
My grandfather was a family practice doctor in a small farming town where the locals referred him to as “Doc Brown.” As I visited my grandparents through the years, my grandfather and I would often drive down to the local store where we would usually run into a local or two that knew him. “Hi, Doc!” they’d exclaim. Everyone knew Doc Brown. People really appreciated my grandfather, and he would have this genuinely warm and endearing smile, as he shook hands with them while proudly introducing me. What followed was often a mix-up of whose son I was (my grandfather had 4 daughters), and oh, how tall I had grown! The he would say, “And I delivered him on my birthday, did you know that?” he would proclaim with great enthusiasm. “Well, well,…I sure didn’t,” they’d reply; even though I knew they had heard that story many, many times before. Nonetheless, I was honored that he thought so highly of that single event, for it would bind us for years to come.
Because of him, I loved the idea of being a doctor and caring for people. Maybe it was the respect and genuine humanity he was gifted with, or the enthusiasm he had for life. I believe that his influence was always present, and I never wanted to disappoint him. My parents…who cares? But him, no way! Even so, I wasn’t very studious in high school and floundered in those four years as I became more interested in music and art, and less in my studies. Seriously, I was lucky to have passed. Yet, my grandfather loved me.
My following years were a rocky road as I dabbled in the art of waiting tables, or design and music; I was searching for life’s answers. Knowing that I did not have the capacity for the tenacious discipline of med-school, I thought about Nursing. “Yeah, I can do that,” I thought, and I was suddenly on a roller-coaster ride through relentless battles of discipline and adversity, while learning a whole new vocabulary. I was in head-deep!
I believe my perseverance finally paid off when I was accepted to Nursing School. It was like a miracle as I opened that wonderful letter, but I never realized that I would share this news with my grandfather only 3 days before he died. Maybe he was waiting for this moment; maybe it was just his time. Nonetheless, I believe it was a sign.
Today, I am a Nurse Practitioner in Family Practice. My grandfather’s picture adorns my desk, and daily I think to myself “I wonder what he would say or do?” I believe my grandfather gave me the gift of human compassion and love for what I do for my patients. I just hope he’s looking down saying, “I believe in you too!”
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