23 September 2018
My Grandfather Over the Years
My grandfather’s name is John Joseph Adase. I would tell his age as well but I myself do not know it because I stopped counting after he turned 62 years old. He is of mixed heritage; his mother was Ghanaian and his father was Indian. He is the oldest of five children. My grandfather himself is a father to 7 children; four girls and three boys. When I was younger I used to think of my grandpa as the stereotypical grumpy, old man from cartoons and TV shows that I used to watch but eventually, I came to see him in a different light because I had gotten to see the man that was behind the front was that he was putting up.
When I was younger, I used to alternate between living with my parents in the United States during summer breaks and living my grandparents during the school year in Ghana so that I could attend primary (elementary) school. Living with my grandparents was interesting because they are polar opposites. My grandmother was 4’9, had an average weight and went to church every single Sunday whiles my grandfather on the other hand, had a wiry frame and was standing at about 6’3. My grandma was always patient, kind, neutering and loving whiles my grandfather was the cold, snippy, impatient and jaded disciplinarian of the house.
My grandma used to coddle and pamper me whiles my grandfather would act cold or closed off towards me. I rarely ever saw him however, I always knew that he loved me. When I think back on it, I realized that we never really had a meaningful conversation together. All we would do is acknowledge each other’s presence with a greeting and then an awkward silence would follow. It wasn’t until I started sneaking into my grandpa’s room to watch cartoons that we finally started to bond. When I was living with my grandparents, I was not allowed to watch TV on weekdays but on Tuesday afternoon, he found me watching television in his room and I thought I was going to be in trouble until he sat down and watched them with me. It turns out my grandfather was a big fan of Tom and Jerry, Barbie, Looney Tunes, and several other local cartoons. Watching cartoons with my grandfather allowed me to see a different side of him. He stopped acting like a cold parent started acting more like a grandparent. He let his guard down and allowed his sense of humor to show more. I was eventually allowed to see the funny, witty, self assured, intelligent, wise, headstrong prankster side of my grandfather. We had several silly debates over many unimportant things, and even started pranking my little sisters.
The last time I saw my grandfather was in July 2013. I left Ghana seeing my grandpa as a whole and happy person. However, unfortunate circumstances have change my view of him since then. On February 10, 2015 my grandfather suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side. He had essentially become helpless and being the independent person that he was, he didn’t like it. I hadn’t seen him for myself, but my parents went to visit him after he had had his stroke and continue go back every couple months to visit him. I’ve talk to him on the phone and seen pictures of what the stroke aftermath looks like. He had always been skinny but in the pictures he looked very sickly. When we talked on the phone his words were very slurred. If someone who didn’t know about his situation tried talking to him, they would probably think that he was drunk out of his mind. Not only did the stroke affect his physical appearance, but also his attitude and character. He became much more emotional and more prone to sadness because he feels decrepit and despondent. He says that he is tired of living his life the way that it is. It is very depressing to see him in such a sad and depressing state.
The man that I now know as my grandpa is not the same man from when I last saw him in July 2013. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always accepted the concept of death. I’ve always known that nobody would live forever and that death was inevitable but it is still unnerving to see the life ebb away from my grandpa’s eyes. I’ve never had any close family members or friends die but I always knew it was a possibility; I just never associated it with reality.
Despite his change in attitude and mental state, I still see him as the funny, witty, self assured, intelligent, wise, headstrong prankster who can still be a disciplinarian when need be. Now I also see that he is not invincible and that he has an incredible resolve for going on with life even though he doesn’t necessarily want to. It’s funny to think that just ten or so years ago, I thought my grandpa was a cold, unfeeling, unapproachable, impatient and grumpy old man and now I see him as the guy who despite going through a stroke that left his right side paralyzed can still crack a joke when he feels like it. For the rest of my life, I will eternally see my grandfather as a perseverer who will continue to try despite any trials and tribulations that may come in his way. He is a great role model and I know that I will look up to for the rest of my life. Even though I know that it is unlikely, I hope that he eventually gets better so we can continue to build our relationship.