This I Believe: Love Can Go A Long Way

Maya - Chesterfield, Missouri
Entered on February 5, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, love
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I believe that long can go a long way. Love is a strong emotion that gives people strength, inspiration and can teach many important values of life. My love for my Papa who is in the process of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease has personally taught me the importance of patience and appreciation. In that sense, my love for him has not only been good for him, it’s been beneficial for me; proving that love can go a long way!

Everyday, it is more apparent to my entire family how important it is to be patient with Papa. He doesn’t follow normal conversations sometimes, and he if often confused. At first, it was strange for me to be around him; unsure of what he would and wouldn’t understand and if he was having a good or bad day. I began to realize that there was nothing we could do to change how Papa was now, we could only spend time with him, show him our love and hope for the best. I have developed a great sense of patience from spending time with Papa. I’ve learned to just go along with his conversation and contribute when I can. Patience is necessary in that type of situation where getting frustrated or stressful cannot help. Our love for Papa is the reason we are capable of being patient with him. We love him, so therefore all we want to do is see him improve and be happy. Patience is also very rewarding. Papa loves talking about his life; whether it’s his teenage years or recent years. A couple weeks ago, my Mom was driving him home from somewhere and I was in the backseat. I started asking him questions about when he was a coal miner and suddenly it was as if someone flicked a switch in his mind. He talked a miles a minute about everything from coal mining to his daughter to his trips to Chicago. He was obviously enjoying sharing his stories with my Mom and I. At that moment, I realized that our patience with him had paid off because he was happy. Our love had led to patience, which went a long way.

Another important value love has taught me through this experience is appreciation. I was really upset when Papa’s symptoms started to worsen; it was on my mind constantly worrying me. One night my Mom got off the phone with my Gammy, talking about Papa’s current condition. I surprised myself when I started crying my eyes out, telling my Mom how much everything had been worrying me. She consoled me by telling me that he wasn’t going anywhere, and that all we can do is enjoy and appreciate the good times we have with him. Every time I’m with my grandparents now, I try to enjoy every moment and for that I am more appreciative. About a week ago, I was at my grandparent’s house for dinner. We were watching American Idol and my Papa was laughing along with us. He was having a good day and as I was sitting there next to him, I took a mental picture in my mind; Papa and I at the bar watching American Idol and eating dinner, having fun. I have had so many wonderful memories with my grandparents, which makes me even more appreciative of my time with them now. Love and appreciation go hand in hand. When you love someone, your appreciation for them grows. That’s why I have learned to be so appreciative with Papa. Appreciation and love lead to memorable moments, love going a long way.

Unexpected things happen in life, but you really have no choice but to take the road it leads you down. The road we’re on with Papa getting Alzheimer’s has had bumps along the way, with more expected. There have also been lessons learned and values cherished. If there’s one belief I’ve gained from this experience, it’s that love can go a long way.