I'm actually going to do two posts on the letter "J", because I wanted to share an article I just wrote for a newsletter at Daddy's work. I love you Carter Jay!
Carter was sedated for the first few weeks of his life, so it took a little while for his real personality to shine through. As he started to get better, it wasn’t long before we realized that there really wasn’t much that this little baby couldn’t handle. He took every poke and prod with a courage that I had never seen in in such a small person. It was easy to see that he was a happy baby…a strong baby, and he wasn’t going to complain about the hand that he had been dealt.
I often wondered where he had picked up this trait. That calmness and just overall happiness even though he had every right to act miserable. We were all in awe of his strength and overall toughness, and nurses often made comments about it. It wasn’t until recently that I came to the conclusion that his Great-Grandpa Jay had given Carter more than his middle name.
Grandpa Jay, passed away recently at the age of 83. This amazing man had several trials in his life, but instead of just letting these take him down, he found new ways to overcome them. At the young age of 21, Jay came home from work one day with flu-like symptoms. Soon after he was diagnosed with Polio, and as a result, Jay lost the use of muscle in his legs. He had a wife and a one year old son at home, so I’m sure that he must have had a lot of fear about how he would take care of them, but he still managed to keep his positive attitude. Jay had to spend an entire year in the hospital, but he never once took on the “why me?” attitude. I can’t imagine the kind of courage it must have taken for him to leave behind the life he knew, and try to find a new way.
After Jay finally returned home, he and his wife worked on building up his upper body strength to compensate for the loss of use of his legs. In the beginning he could walk with the use of canes, but eventually he began to use a wheelchair. Jay developed a passion for his wood working hobby which he easily mastered. That man could take a piece of wood and turn it into something spectacular. It was as if his hands were magical.
In 2006, Jay suffered a stroke that left him without the use of one of his arms. Not only did this mean that he would need to live in a nursing home apart from his wife, but it also meant that he could no longer practice his passion for woodworking. Once again he showed us courage when he started yet another new journey. Not once did he show any hint of sadness over his new path. Instead of complaining about his situation, he made the very best of it, and began a new hobby in painting ceramics. Of course, none of us were surprised when he quickly mastered it.
It’s amazing to me how Jay could stay so positive through all of this. There is so much more to his story which includes the loss of his son, and a battle with Cancer. Grandpa made the best of everything he could with what he had been given, much like Carter did. It really is only fitting that they share the same name… Jay.