Jordan Miller ‘23, Managing Editor

Source: Jordan Miller

I remember the exact day when my dad told me that my 97-year-old grandfather would be moving in with us. It was in January of 2018. I was a junior in high school. The news caught me by surprise, as my parents never mentioned the idea before. I will be completely transparent in the fact I was not happy to hear this at first. I was angry at my parents for springing this on me at the last minute. I knew our family dynamic would change, and to be honest I was not very close with my grandfather. We would meet him out for lunch once a week on Saturdays  but a close bond never developed. He and his dog moved into our house on President’s Day weekend in 2018. 

His dog was an older Australian Shepherd with a chocolate brown coat. My whole family immediately fell in love with her, and this was exciting for my brother and I because we had never had a dog before, only cats. Her name was Leigh and she was the sweetest pup on earth. Sadly, Leigh passed away in August of 2019 just weeks before I started my freshman year of college. It was a devastating loss to our entire family. 

My grandfather was very independent for his age when he first moved in. He could walk around with the assistance of his walker and was quite self sufficient. He always insisted that he didn’t want to be a burden, so I think that further explains his behavior. Of course, no one considered him to be a burden. After all, he was family.

As the months went on, my grandfather and I started to develop a closer relationship. Every morning he would give me a big smile as soon as he saw me. I learned more about his life and about his experience fighting in WWII. I soon discovered he was an extremely intelligent man. He has a love for life and he was so grateful to be able to live with us instead of having to live in a nursing home.

Nowadays, we are extremely close. Every morning I make his breakfast (which is usually a bowl of Cheerios or some homemade pancakes) and help him get around the house because now he primarily uses a wheelchair. Everynight before he goes to bed, I give him a big smile and a wave as he goes up on the stairlift. You can see on his face that it absolutely makes his day. It is hard to believe that I ever was upset about him moving in with us. I consider him a role model and a ray of sunshine in my life. All the physical therapists and nurses that come by to see him always admire how kind and compassionate he is. He is simply an amazing human and I am so blessed that I got the opportunity to gain a relationship with him.

This coming November, he will be turning 100 years old. We are so excited to be able to celebrate this huge milestone for him. We plan on doing an outdoor (COVID friendly) celebration so people can stop by and wish him a happy birthday. It is certainly not an everyday occurrence when you get to celebrate a family member’s 100th birthday.  

This is a sign to reach out to the older generation in your family, or even your community. They are fascinating and amazing people. My grandfather moving in with us changed my life for the better.