Home > In Their Own Words > A Tribute to Gampy

A Tribute to Gampy

This is a loving tribute by  Jeanette Dakessian about her father. She is the mother of a 10-year-old son with autism, and her father was a huge part of her son’s life.

I have a 10 year old , mostly nonverbal, son who has autism. He was so attached to  my dad, who he called grampy for many years, until my dad passed away last November from lung cancer.

My dad would come to my house three times a week to meet Tyler’s van at  my house and bring him to daycare because I worked full time, and he was retired. He would get my daughter off the bus as well. Grampy gave Tyler cookies every day for snack and Tyler loved that! He was always very excited when grampy was waiting for him at the house.  He would say “Gampy!!!!” anytime he saw a red truck, which is what my dad drove.

My dad would stop at my house multiple times a week to see the kids. Tyler would run into his bedroom to get his small photo album, come back out into the living room, and grab grampys arm pulling him over to the couch. Then he would take his arm and pull it over his shoulders so grampy was hugging him!

Then he would point at pictures of our family and look at Grampy, in the eyes, which he often has a difficult time doing, and say who ever or whatever was in the picture. For example…tree, ball, bus, Dee Dee(my sister) Di Di(my other sister), and so forth.

My dad would take his baseball hat and put it on backwards because Tyler would look at him and say, “uh oh!!” Then he would take it off my dad and put it back on the right way. It was their special thing, and oh so cute!

Tyler would not take anyone else’s hand and pull them to the couch. Only his Grampy. He loved him a lot and my dad loved him right back.

I brought Tyler to the wake last year and Tyler looked at him and said “night night!”  He does not understand death and it was bittersweet.  It has been a year since my father passed, and to this day, he still says ” Gampy,” when he sees a red truck. He will jump up and down and look so excited thinking “Gampy is back to see me.” It is sad to see that Tyler is disappointed when its not him, but he is so blessed to have had Gampy in his life.

We would like to hear from you! Share your story about your experience as a grandparent of a child with autism. E-mail us at editors@autismspeaks.org. For more information about how grandparents make a difference, visit us here.

  1. December 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

    OMG!!!! My dad passed away when my son Jacob (also 10) was about 16 months old. We didn’t know at that time that he was special needs. He died of lung cancer and was also retired. I can only imagine how they would have gotten along. He would do silly things like go fishing in the fish tank with his other grandsons that were older. I think he would have been amazing with jake like your dad with your son. Thanks for sharing…this brought tears to my eyes!

  2. odie
    December 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    It is very refreshing to hear of a grandfaher ,who took such care of his grandchildren!i AM GLAD YOUR SON HAS BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES.i wish more grandparents would decide to help in lives of our extraspecial children!thanks for sharing your story!

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