A favourite person

Class speech by Brynley Whitton, age 11

Early on a bright summer morning, an energetic five year old was excited as ever. Today was her special day, today was her birthday! Outside in her grandparents' large backyard, she wiggled her chubby toes in the dew covered grass.

"Ready, set, GO!" her fun-loving grandfather hollered. The young girl set off running through the tulips, around the tree, past the birdfeeder up the hill and finally back to her grandfather's warm embrace.

"How'd I do N'pa? How'd I do?" she excitedly questioned him. "Well ... you beat your record!" he smiled.

"Yeah!" she yelled. He then lifted his content granddaughter up into his arms. "Hey, N'pa, race ya!"

"OK....go." The two of them raced off down the yard into the morning sun, one on all fours and the other sprinting her hardest to beat her grownup playmate. They then flopped down onto the wet ground. The girl turned her head to look up into her grandfather's striking blue eyes; she reached for his hand. "I love you N'pa." she whispered, "I love you." He chuckled as he replied, "I love you too sunshine."

Years passed and the little girl grew older and more mature. One Christmas when the girl was about ten, she handed her grandfather, a gift from her and her mother. With the Grandma's help he undid the wrapping paper to find the traditional British calendar. As he held the present, a quick look of remembrance brightened his eyes, but the moment was soon over. Later on, he placed a gift bag over his head, trying to get a laugh out of his family. Everyone chuckled. An awkward silence followed; it wasn't the same. When her grandfather hugged her soon after, the girl once more looked into his blue eyes. They had changed to be distant and had a far off look, but his love and kindness shined through. She was still his sunshine- for now.

Not long after on a similar hot summer day the girl (now 11) was looking forward to seeing her grandfather once again. She and her mother cautiously walked into his room. "Hi N'Pa," the girl feebly smiled. "Hello," he acknowledged her, and then turned to gaze out the window. His room was so small and clinical, but at least some of his precious belongings were placed throughout the room so that it felt somewhat like his place. In her sorrow, the girl reached down to hold his hand. She tried talking to him, but all she got was simply a nod now and then. Before the girl left her beloved grandfather, she bent over to whisper in his ear. "I love you N'pa." she assured him with all her heart.

The next visit to see her grandfather months later was not pleasant, and nothing could have prepared her. Her grandmother and mother were huddled around her gaunt and weak N'Pa's bed. The girl was in shock. She remembered all the energy he used to have, and how healthy and joyful he had always been. She knew in her heart that it was close to the end for him, but she couldn't bear to think of life without him. Her family did not want her to stay during his death, so they called her father to come pick her up. With tears streaming down her miserable face, the girl tried to stay calm so that she could say goodbye to her grandfather for the last time. She first told him of all the good memories that she had of him. Then she continued to say that she would always love him and he would always be her N'pa. No words came out of his mouth, but the girl knew that if he could, he would have cheerfully responded, I love you too sunshine.

I lost my best-friend the next morning around 2:30 A.M. I cried and cried and cried until I couldn't cry anymore. But I knew that it was for best, his pain and suffering of Alzheimer's had ended, and he was free.

When he left me, I had the satisfaction of knowing that he did care; he did love me. Now when I think of my Grandfather, I remember the morning of my fifth birthday and all the other fun times we had together; I remember him as the fun-loving, caring, energetic best-friend that he was to me and that's exactly what he would have wanted his sunshine to remember him as.

Last Updated: 11/08/2017