9/13/12

Dementia

*This is my Grandmother Vivian, who I will probably look like in 50 years!*


I called my Grandmother Vivian today. At first, she was silly. First thing I said to her was, "Hi Grandma, it's Andrea-Lynn. How do you feel today?" And you know what she said to me? "I feel with my fingers....hahaha...I know, I am a smart ass!"  <--- Her words!  That made me giggle.  She sounded happy and cheerful.   We then talked about life. She asked about my girls.  She loves them dearly, almost as much as she loves me she says.  Aww! <3  Then a few minutes into our conversation, Grandma said she had a story to tell me.

She told me she had a story to tell me about my Grandfather Ken. She told me that 20 years ago, Grandpa left her and she went into details.

She said they had a dinner party and after her guests left, she went into the kitchen to clean up and Grandpa came into the kitchen and put his arm around her waist, spun her around, and kissed her on the lips and said to her, "Goodbye Vivian. I am leaving."  Grandma told me she then said, "Okay honey!" thinking Grandpa had somewhere to go, and then Grandpa said, "Okay? That's all you have to say?"  "Well sure, where are you going?" she asked.  Then he said, "Goodbye. This is goodbye. I am leaving."   And then Grandma said she didn't understand it, but Grandpa then left her, and never came back.

She went on to tell me she wished she could ask him why he left her, and wished she could write him a letter but had no idea where he was living or what he was doing with his life, or if he just stopped loving her.

"He left me. I don't understand how he could just walk away from our marriage, children, our life, our family without a reason.   At least he said good-bye first."-Grandma



This brought me to tears.

You see, my Grandmother Vivian is 80 years old. Almost 81.  She lives in a nursing home & she is losing her memory.  My Grandpa Ken passed away about 8 or 9 years ago.  I don't know if this was something she imagined, dreamed about, read from a book, or watched on television, or a real memory she had from a totally off the wall occasion, but I had to bring her to reality on the phone. This was so hard to do.  It is hard enough to remind Grandma of things sometimes, like names of my children and their birth order, but I think this was the hardest one so far.  I tried my best to be truthful and to the point.  In the nicest,  most sincere way, I gently put it to her...

 "Grandma, no. No, Grandpa did not leave you. He loved you dearly. He would NEVER do that to you. Grandpa loved you until the day he died. You were very special to him.  He passed away and is in Heaven now, but he never stopped loving you, and never left you!"   I had to keep reassuring her. I had to tell when Grandpa passed away.  I had to remind her of everything.   :(

When I think she finally realized what I was saying to her, Grandma sighed and very quietly said to me, "Oh yes. I forgot. Ken died. How could I forget?"


Oh my lanta. My heart is heavy.  She sounded so lost. So sad.  I didn't enjoy telling her again that Grandpa passed away, but I think she needed to hear it.  Sounded to me like she was protecting herself from the pain of her loss for him, with a silly story.   Perhaps it was better for her to think Grandpa just walked out on her. :(



I love my Grandma more than life. She and I are extremely close. I aspire to live life like her and love life like her.  She's the kindest, most dear person in the world.

I just wish that she wasn't miserable in a nursing home. Losing her mind. Withering away.  This is one of the hardest things in the world to witness, almost as much as my Caity suffering.   Why GOD??   I wish we could all understand GOD's plan for us.  The lessons we learn, the pain we experience, the memories we make, it's all bigger than we can even wrap our minds around.    I pray to GOD that I never ever ever forget anything. I love my mind and my memories and I never want to lose them. I hold all of them dear! I would never wish Dementia on anybody! It's so heartbreaking.    



*The two most important and irreplaceable people in my life!*

*My sweet Grandpa holding me when I was a year old.*

*Grandma & Grandpa*

*Gramps looks cool in his aviators! Miss him!*


*My best memories were of this photo, but in real life. Running into Grandma & Grandpa's arms when I'd come to visit them, and they'd be waiting outside for our arrival!*

*They sure loved fishing in their pond!*

*Some family at Grandpa's Funeral in 2004.*


* I love them with all my heart & soul!*

*Caity & I visiting with Grandma on her birthday*


*Evangeline & I visiting Grandma at her residential care facility.*

*My little brother Kevin, Grandma & I*

*Grandma's quote!*



I wish I could have gotten to know my Grandpa Ken more. I just remember his laugh & how he smelled of pipe tobacco & aftershave, yet always had a stubbly chin! :)  He had a twinkle in his eye & was the hardest working man I have ever known to this day.  I miss him so much, especially when I look at photographs or hear my family tell stories and share memories.  I hope I have many more years to get to know Grandma Viv and absorb some of her wisdom & spirit. I cannot imagine my life without her, but sometimes we have to look at reality and what's right in front of us. If I am lucky, I will live a long and meaningful life and be a Great-Grandmother to my children's children one day too. <3

xo.