My biggest inspiration

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2015

Throughout my life, my grandmother has been one of my biggest inspirations. She left her family behind in Cuba when she was in her twenties to chase her dreams in America. Shortly after becoming an American citizen, she worked at a department store in Illinois where she met my grandfather, and later started a family.

Growing up, I always anticipated the times she would come to visit because I would get to hear more stories about her adventures. My grandmother and I would sit on the couch for hours at a time, and I would eagerly listen as she reminisced about her childhood in Cuba, raising my dad and her adventures traveling around Europe with my grandfather. I was always so drawn by her independent nature and spirit for life that the hours would quickly tick by. In our long discussions, she would always make sure to tell me to chase my dreams because she would always be there to support me in whatever I chose to do.

But as she started getting older, her memories began to fade and we couldn’t talk for hours like we used to. She gradually started losing recollection of the stories I cherished.

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My grandmother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a progressive disease that destroys memory and other mental functions. Currently, there’s no cure or treatment to stop the disease altogether, but scientists are working to develop new treatments such as drug therapies, immunization therapy and cognitive training, according to the Alzheimer’s Associations website.

It’s heartbreaking to watch a loved one deteriorate right in front of your eyes.

There’s nothing my family or I can do but be there for my grandmother and remember all the great memories we shared with her.

I will never forget that time years ago when she jumped into a lake to grab one of my favorite toys that the wind blew out of my hands. That was the kind of grandmother she was. She would do anything to make sure I was happy.

Whoever your biggest inspiration is in your life, make sure to let them know how much they mean to you.