michael gillis: he’s a dreamer

Today I went to visit my grandad in the hospital; his health has been deteriorating for quite some time. Seeing him so helpless nearly broke my heart. But just as I was starting to feel sorry for him, he flashed me one of his huge, classic smiles & gave me a warm embrace. I spent the rest of my time listening; to his one of a kind jokes followed by his contagious laugh, and so many stories. So many beautiful stories of his past.

He was the youngest of seven brothers and sisters, all of whom were raised by their single mother. His family was incredibly poor and at seventeen he left home to find work. “I was 300 miles away from home. Didn’t know where I was going. But I just kept on walking. It was either that or starve,” he told me. For years he worked and worked and worked. He spent years drifting from city to city.. wherever he could find work, barely getting by. Yet, while he is telling me this story, he continuously says how lucky he was.. to find the jobs, to meet his wife, to buy a home where they would eventually raise their family. Life has never been particularly easy for him but he never gives up hope. Even now, as he spends weeks in the hospital, unable to walk, he talks of how good it will feel when he goes home. He is a fighter.. a dreamer. He sees the good in every one he meets; he believes in the kindness of other human beings. Most of all, he believes in himself. 

As I sat and listened, I was in awe of the man sitting in front of me. I began to think of my own life.. how privileged I am. How I take basic human necessities for granted.. like the fact that I have a home to come back to every night, and no matter how far I fall there will always be someone there to catch me. Like the fact that I can go to school and do something that I absolutely love, every single day. I am lucky to worry about what piece of music I am going to use for my newest choreographic creation. I am so lucky. 

Going forward, I am going to keep this wonderful man in mind anytime I feel defeated or hopeless. I hope that sharing a portion of his story touches you in some way.

Infinite x’s and o’s

Olivia

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