We went to see my paternal grandma the other day. She’s in a home for people with Alzheimer’s and she’s pretty far along her disease.
It’s a funny thing though, growing up I never had a good relationship with her. I remember this short story I wrote once about the anger and almost hate I felt towards her. In my childhood eyes she was an enemy of our family, someone spreading lies and gossip. Anyway, I don’t really want to get into that too much as it was a long time ago and I was a child. For years and years she was no part of my life at all because of all this. When it became clear she was suffering from this horrible disease though, it changed things. It might even explain things of the past (see, who knows how long she’s been suffering from it.)
My mum and dad has been so good at visiting her several times a week since she moved to this home, setting a great example of what honoring your parents in their old age is all about. I’ve been wanting to do the same, but time has just not been there. My goal is to make it into a routine of visiting. Even if I know she won’t remember we’ve actually been there, I am convinced the feelings of having the visits will make a lasting impression.
But also, the way my parents handles the situation and the way they forgive and forget the past and take their responsibility as children to care for and be there when it really matters, not just when there’s a personal gain involved, has made such a huge impression on me. I wish I can give Aiden the same example of respecting elderly relatives, being self-sacrificing without expecting anything in return and seeing to others social need.
She was so impressed by Aidens clothes (“Real clothes” she said, I guess meaning he didn’t have baby clothes on, as she also said he looks like a “little old man”). And also, she kept asking me who I am. Then she said; “How old are you?” I said; “32”. We had that conversation a few times and when we were leaving and she asked me again and I said I was 32 she laughed and said; “What? You don’t look like you’re more 20-something”. SWEEET! She doesn’t have a social filter so I guess she’s right – he he he!
I was looking at old photos in her flat. Everytime I look at her oldest daughter, she said; “That girl is not alive anymore”. Of course, I knew this already. I knew that this girl past away soon after the photo was taken with my dad and his twin. Only four years of age. She’s so pretty and it’s so sad even though it was so many years ago. And it must have hit her so hard, as she keeps having those thoughts pop up in her failing memory about the daughter she lost.