I thought it was bad enough that my grandmother died six years ago after a long and horrible battle with cancer. That was until a few months after her passing when my grandfather was hit by a car on his daily morning walk.

The car went through a red light, hit him, and then sped off leaving my grandfather on the road, broken and bleeding. It took him a while to get going, but with the help of physical therapy he eventually improved and was back to being himself just as he was before the accident.

Things seemed to be going well until this summer when they took a turn for the worse.

It started when my grandfather was looking to buy a car. My father and I told him he didn’t need a new car while my uncle encouraged him to get one. This disagreement between his children caused him a great deal of stress and he began to develop panic attacks, stress reactions which he had never had before. He also started to go and see doctors, and even after many tests, no one was able to figure out what was wrong with him.

These panic attacks weren’t the only strange symptom he was having though. He became extremely forgetful and never knew where he was. When I went over to his house he would ask if he could come home with me because he was tired of staying in the hospital. He also regularly confused my dad for the caretaker. It was clear that he was not himself, and our fear of dementia began to set in. Dementia has been passed down in our family history for a long time, and while it hasn’t been confirmed by the doctors yet, we’re almost certain that’s what he has.

Coming back to Queen’s makes me wish I could have spent more time with him and being over three hours away only worries me more.

In preparation for going away, we tried to increase his cognitive ability by putting games on his iPad, write lists of what he has to do during the day, and take note of when his specific appointments occur. Unfortunately this does not change the fact that I’m still not there. When you go off to University it’s easy to forget what you leave behind.

My advice to everyone that lives close to home or far away is to avoid taking the people in your life for granted, you never know what might happen.

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