In spite of a devastating diagnosis, one Mississippi family has discovered that life is “still the good part.”
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From the moment Mera and Bowen were born, their grandfather “Pawpaw” has been their constant companion and playmate. By the way Pawpaw gets down on the floor and lifts the children over his head, you’d never guess there’s an 88- and 91-year age gap separating the generations!
Pawpaw’s daughter, Masa Hensley, has always loved watching her father bond with her children.
“They really are the best of friends,” she said. “They love to garden together, they love to swing together, to sing together. He just gets down on their level and talks with them, and even when they were little, I mean, he was just like rolling on the floor with them, and picking them up, and it bonded them.”
Sadly, their world ground to a halt in the fall of 2021 when Pawpaw suffered a stroke. While hospitalized, he was also diagnosed with dementia. When he emerged from the hospital, he had to use a walker or a wheelchair and was becoming increasingly confused. Masa wondered if the days of hearing her children giggle with her father were over, but as it turns out, their relationship only grew stronger!
“They diagnosed him with dementia, and so I was worried that would hurt their relationship, because he’d be asking the same questions over and over again,” Masa said.
After a heart-to-heart with the kids, now ages 3 and 6, Masa realized love would guide the way forward. As soon as they let Pawpaw spend some time with his grandchildren again, his mental and physical health began to improve!
“If anything, it’s brought them closer together, and it’s definitely helped him on the recovery front,” Masa said. “He isn’t worried about the other stuff, he’s just worried about being in the moment, and I think that’s where kids are, and I think that has a lot to do with why they connect so much.”
Pawpaw continues to improve by “leaps and bounds” every day! While they understand that more struggles may be ahead, this family is taking it day by day and enjoying every second they have together.
Watch Masa’s sweet video about Pawpaw and the grandkids below, and don’t forget to share this story.
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