Descriptive Essay about My Grandfather

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How a Relationship Can Influence Your Future

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away,” wrote fantasy author Terry Pratchett. The impact and influence that family members leave with you while alive and also after they have died can change and develop your life to great degrees. My grandfather has been one of the people in my life who has shaped me into the person I am today and who continues to influence my development as a person though he is no longer here with me.

I was born on July 15 1991 at 8:33 pm at Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, California. My mother was in labor with me for 12 hours after I almost arrived early at 6 months and then a week later than the original due date of July 8, 1991. Other than my mother, my grandfather was the first person to hold me and I was told that it was a very touching moment. Since that day, I never went a day without seeing him.

I have lived with my grandparents since I was born and have always had an amazing relationship with my grandfather. We were the type of people who could sit in a room together without talking and feel completely at ease. I have very fond memories of sitting on his knee and a child asking for a sip of his beer. To this day I can still taste the bitterness from the first and last time he let me try it. These moments always made me feel special because I was the only grandchild that he ever did this with. As I got older, our relationship grew even more.

When it came to schooling, I was never a studious student and never really liked school, doing the bare minimum just to get by. My grandfather was very adamant that I put effort into graduating because he himself never graduated. Opting to leave high school at 17 and enlist in the Vietnam War. It wasn’t until years later after the war that he finally went back and obtained his G.E.D. He always stressed that he wanted better for me and to exceed what he himself had done. I can still remember the smile on his face at my graduation in 2009. I honestly never thought I would get to that point but he always told me that he knew I could do it and that there were more accomplishments to come.

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After high school came community college. I was in my first semester at Moreno Valley College when my grandfather first got sick. His illness took me and my family by surprise because he did not show any symptoms of being ill. To this day I still believe he masked his symptoms while my grandmother was sick herself. His diagnosis came back as throat and nasal cancer, this diagnosis was devastating to me. The idea that someone whom I viewed as so strong may not recover from this and that a man who put everyone else before him did not deserve this to happen to him. Against my grandfather's wishes, I dropped out of community college to become his primary caregiver. I know that this was a disappointment for him and he felt guilty but I felt and knew that it was my time to take care of him as he had done for the last 18 years.

The next 6 months were dedicated to driving him to Fontana, California every day for radiation while combating radiation side effects which had taken a good deal out of my grandfather. Many days were spent in antiseptic-smelling hospitals and sick trips to the bathroom. After treatment, he was declared in remission.

Though my grandfather was “cancer free”, the aftermath was just as devastating. My grandfather was now stuck on an oxygen concentrator confined to our home. Nights were spent trying to sleep through the concentrator’s loud hum and the worry that he wasn’t able to breathe. Things seemed to eventually get better and I was once again able to take him out to enjoy his favorite activity, people watching. Shock hit a few years later when we learned the cancer had returned and had spread to vital organs. I went from his caregiver to his hospice caregiver. He eventually passed in February 2017, two days after learning the cancer had returned. It was hard to lose him but I gained some acceptance in knowing that he was no longer in pain and could now be with the love of his life of 50 years.

The illness and death of my grandfather was a terrible experience to go through, losing someone who means too much to me is not easy to get over. I do find myself feeling sad and the pain is still present. After the passing of my grandfather at 26, I went back to community college where I graduated, and am now attending California State University San Bernardino at 28. Knowing how important schooling was to my grandfather pushes me every day to be the best that I can be, growing into the person he knew I could and making him proud. The relationship and influence that I still carry of my grandfather is something that I will always cherish and love.


    1. Pratchett, T. (2013). Reaper Man: A Discworld Novel. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
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