Thursday, September 13, 2007
I'm here... barely
I have always loved, and will always love, my grandmother, my Nan. She has always believed in me. Not once has she ever questioned me, doubted me or even scolded me. She taught me, encouraged and listened to me.
Nan has been struggling with Alzheimer's for the past few years. Once Pa passed away, the Alzheimer's progressed much more quickly. For the past three years, I have had a front row seat to the eventual loss of almost everything that she once was.
She used to make huge meals that would fill the table and would spread onto the counters. We would spend hours eating and laughing... Now she doesn't remember how to open a can of soup or even how to eat a sandwich.
Nan and I would spend long mornings and afternoons picking blackberries. We would make blackberry jam and cobblers and still have enough to fill quarts and quarts to line the walls in her food storage... A few weeks ago she turned to me and said, "Have you ever been blackberry picking? I think you would enjoy it."
Nan would spend hours carefully ironing Pa's dress shirts and making crisp creases in his jeans and her skirts for church. We would hang laundry out to dry on the clothesline. If it would begin to rain, we would laugh like crazy as we chased down all of the clothing before it got too wet... She forgot how to use the washer and dryer. The clothesline was taken down.
I think that Alzheimer's Disease is cruel. It is a horrific disease that robs a person of their most valuable possession; their memories. Now that Nan is living in Texas with her sons, I am lost without her. Watching her suffer through 4 different hospitals within the course of 10 days was torture, but knowing that she isn't waiting for me on the front porch is absolutely killing me. I am mourning not only the loss of her personality, now I don't even have her hand to hold.