***Post written by Danielle Knudsen***
There are tons of famous people who have changed the world and left long-lasting imprints on those they inspire, many of which provide great inspiration in my life. Yet, as I reflect on my motivation and empowerment, I realize that I am consistently inspired by those who hold a lasting place in heart. My grandmother’s strength, courage and commitment deeply inspire me during good and bad times. My grandmother has struggled in the face of hardship and has repeatedly sought to achieve her goals despite the warnings of others.
Nana suffered from a stroke when I was about ten years old, leaving her paralyzed on the right side of her body, as well as speech impaired. Her disability warranted a complete change in lifestyle considering that what used to be everyday tasks suddenly became great accomplishments due to her handicap. After my grandmother suffered from the stroke, my family continually suggested that she live in a home with provided professional care, but she dismissed each and every suggestion. She was determined to live independently and provide for herself. Progressively Nana learned how to use her left side to move around her apartment to get ready in the morning, prepare a quick meal, etc. Of course this took great practice, along with frustration, but my grandmother began to become used to her changed life.
My grandmother’s persistence inspires me most of all. In lieu of her handicap, she created a fulfilling lifestyle. Nana became an active member of the social circle in her apartment complex. Her schedule was always filled with various events, such as card games, movie nights, dinner socials, among many others. One of her favorite and most memorable activities was riding her scooter on the highway to go shopping. During these trips, she always bought little trinkets for my family and me.
Of course when my family found out about Nana’s adventures they went crazy over the danger of riding a scooter in such a busy area of town, especially when you are disabled. Nana’s mind was set; she would not allow her disability to hamper her from doing what she loves most. I still have all the cute knick-knacks she bought me in my room, as constant reminders that “mind over matter,” can be true wisdom. Whenever I face a difficulty, I think of my Nana’s experiences in order to place myself into perspective. My Nana is definitely a great source of empowerment, courage and determination!