December 19, 2012

Oh Life, How You Interfere...

Nope, I didn't go MIA again. I've been legitimately busy and pretty much trying to keep from worrying for the last 2 weeks. Mostly i've just been worrying to be honest. My Grandmother, my last living Grandparent is having some problems and frankly it's been hell. Hell to know she is not doing well. Hell to be so far away. Hell to have to wait for someone to call me back since she can't receive calls. Hell in general!

You may remember a couple months ago that I mentioned having gone to see her in Oklahoma and realized that she was having some trouble with remembering things. Apparently the problem is worse than we knew and it escalated about 2 weeks ago. Physically she is as healthy as a person can be. Mentally, she is confused and scared and not herself at all. She's 93 so it's not like this should be a big surprise to anyone really but it's no less painful.

For my entire life, this woman has always been the person I knew without a doubt absolutely loved me. I never, ever questioned this. It was simply a fact. That's not to say I didn't feel loved by others as a child and it's not my intention to hurt anyone's feelings. I know my Dad loves me, he just didn't get to prove it. I'm sure somewhere deep down my Mother cares about me in whatever way she is capable of loving someone other than herself, but Grandma..............Grandma loves me! Period.

We used to sit on the living room floor and exercise while singing songs she taught me. Like, we'd sit facing each other with our feet together touching and sing "Row Your Boat" while we pretended to row a boat and we'd lay on our backs and pretend to ride a bike. She'd pull up a stool and give me a dish towel so I could "help" do the dishes. She'd make cakes and give me the bowl and spoon. She'd sit at the bar with me and color right along with me. These are the things I remember from my childhood. There's a good deal more, and believe me I could go all day telling you all the wonderful memories I have of my Grandmother and Grandfather from when I was young. The sad thing is that there could have been so many more and those opportunities were robbed from us. Unfortunately, that time can't be gotten back.

That's the hardest part of trying to understand Grandma's dementia. Every time we talked on the phone or saw each other after I found her again she loved to tell me all the stories about things I did when I was a baby. Nothing tremendous.......just things all parents tell their kids about the days they can't remember. First foods, learning to walk, first words, etc. Only in this case, it was my Grandma.

On good days, Grandma remembers who I am and she talks to me for at least part of the time as she normally would. It's not long into the conversation though that I can tell she has drifted to another time and place and asks me if her brothers or sisters are alive. Or she reminds me that she remarried after my Grandpa passed away. Things she knows I already know, things she already knows, except in that moment of time she just doesn't. So one of the things I have always enjoyed about my relationship with Grandma has changed. Now it's not me asking the questions, it's me filling in the blanks. I HATE IT, but more than I hate it, I am grateful that I can at least hear her voice still. I don't care what frame of mind she is in. I don't care what she can't remember. I don't care about anything except that she can still speak to me, because the day she can't...........I will simply be lost.

Besides the dementia, we are moving into a new phase. After Grandpa died, Gramma became to afraid to live in the home she had lived in for my entire life. So she sold it and moved into a senior citizens assisted living apartment. She was still able to live on her own just with some help here and there as needed. With the dementia having gotten so bad, she is not going to be able to do this anymore. So once she leaves the diagnostic hospital she is currently in, she will be going to a nursing home. At that point I am afraid that my wonderful, independent, proud Grandmother will just give up. She is fiercely proud of her independence and doing things for herself. I can't imagine how she is going to face losing that AND being in a nursing home. Something she very much fears. The only bright spot is that my youngest sister happens to work in a wonderful nursing home where she will be able to look after Gramma and know what's going on with her, who's caring for her and make sure that she is treated right. I wish I could go get her and just bring her to live with me. I would LOVE to spend as much time with her as possible, and spare my little sister from watching Gramma deteriorate, but I know that coming here would only confuse her more and I know my sister is strong. She has made a decision based on love for a woman who has spent her entire life doing anything she possibly could for everyone else. So I am just going to pray daily for strength for my sister and Gramma's condition.

So if I'm quiet on here, it's not intentional. It's just that I'm having a hard time balancing things and working through how to deal with it all. I've got a few reviews coming up as well as a couple giveaways so stay tuned there and I'll let you all know how things are going as I can.


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