I miss my old grandma, the one that I used to have. The one who used to let me sleep over and make me breakfast the next morning. The one who would bring me on trips, listen to the new CD I just bought, play board games with me, talk to me for hours about anything, make puzzles, and watch TV with me. This picture is from my college graduation, one of the last times I spent time with my grandmother before her memory started getting really bad. Back when I could hang out with her and talk to her, she was a lot happier then.
I wrote a post about my grandmother in the past but for those who don’t know, my grandmother has dementia and she lives alone. Lately, I have been seeing more and more of a decline in her health and it is getting harder and harder for me to go see her. She is frustrated that she can’t remember anything and I can tell that she is lonely. Sitting at home all day by yourself is not a good life for anyone, she needs people around more often. Yesterday I went over because she was going to meet my mom at a park in town for a concert and I was driving her there. I walked in the house and realized that she put a sign on the bathroom door that says “Bathroom” which bothers me because if she is forgetting where the bathroom is, she shouldn’t be alone. When I arrived she was sleeping. I tried to wake her up but she just snored louder so I sat in the living room and watched tv for a few minutes and decided I would try again in a couple minutes. After about 10 minutes she woke up on her own and looked at me with a confused look on her face, maybe because she just woke up but it also looked like it didn’t register to her who I was. I said hi and asked if she still wanted to go to the concert and she asked me if it was still raining to which I told her it didn’t rain today, it was just cloudy. She sat up, and I told her I brought her a chicken sandwich and fries from Wendy’s and asked if she wanted it. All she said was “aww that was nice of you”. She loves those chicken sandwiches and she will only eat if we give her food so I bring them to her from time to time.
“Did it rain much today?” she asked after she sat up.
“No, it didn’t rain today” I tell her again, a little agitated because I just told her a couple minutes ago.
I held the sandwich and fries out and asked her again if she wanted it and by her face I realized that she has already forgotten I brought her food. She asked me to break the sandwich in half and only ate a few fries but I was happy that she ate something at least. After she ate, she went to the bathroom, and then I heard the front door open. I went over to her to see what she was doing and she told me she was checking the weather. We had just spent a lot of time talking about what the weather was like, but instead of getting angry I just told her that it was cloudy and a little cold but other than that it was nice out. When I finally got her ready and made sure she had everything she needed, we got in the car. I was so stressed out and a mess that I stopped at a green light. After a few seconds I realized what I did and was like “What am I doing?, the light is green”. I made a comment that maybe I am just being extra careful because I have precious cargo in my car. My grandmother didn’t react at all, which is weird. In fact she didn’t talk to me at all the whole way to the park, it’s like she didn’t know who I was or what to say to me. She just sat there looking straight ahead out of the windshield, completely silent while I drove. Every time I tried to start a conversation, she replied with a one word answer and went back to staring out the windshield.
Yesterday was the day I realized my grandmother is gone. She is officially not the person I knew growing up. I can no longer have a real conversation with her. It was as if she was looking through me and didn’t understand anything that I was saying. Dementia is a awful disease, and I wish there were a cure.