Today Mom, Dad, the kids and I went to see my grandmother at her new home in Gainesville. For those of you who don't know... my Dad's mom is an identical twin, and she and her sister Ellen still look identical... even to this day at nearly 90 years old.
My grandmother Helen, and her twin Ellen moved recently and I had not been to see them since the move. At their last nursing home we were always worried about the level of care they were receiving. After catching the caregivers in a few lies involving medicine and other care issues we decided they needed a change. Mom and Dad found a new place in Gainesville and we have been thrilled with it and very pleased with the family who owns it. It is the family's personal residence and they have added an extra wing with small apartments for elderly women. They only have room for six residents total so we know they are getting individual attention and the best care possible.
Anyway... for the last two years, Grandmother has really seemed to go down hill fast. She began falling and things seemed to spiral downhill quickly from there. Her memory started to go and she started having some dementia. She lost a lot of weight and was becoming so frail. She just looked so bad. I was always thought as I left her at visits that it might be the last time I'd see her.
However, when I walked in to see her today I was shocked. She looked amazing! She was Grandmother again. Her hair looked so nice, her nails were painted, she was back up to a healthy weigh, and she was dressed in clothes and not just a nightgown. It was so nice to see. She instantly smiled when she saw the kids and was fascinated with them.
But she didn't remember me. I knew that her memory was going... I knew that I'd probably have to remind her who I was. I guess I assumed it would just 'click' with her and we'd talk like we always have. But it never did. This is the first time she did not know who I was. It's funny... it was somehow easier to accept that her memory was slipping away when she looked so frail and week. Having her look strong, the way I've always known her just made it harder to accept. I really didn't expect it. I have never had to deal with anything like this and it's so amazingly difficult to even describe.
I'm so glad that I got to spend time with her today. I took joy in seeing the happiness she felt just watching the kids, even if she did not fully understand who we were. I soon realized that at times she thought Wyatt was my brother Tim, who is now 21 years old. Dad said she remembers things about the past remarkably well, but has trouble with recent events. I guess that is the way it should be. I, like her, have been blessed with a wonderful, loving family. I know that if I was going to relive anytime in my life... it would be the stage I'm in now... young and healthy and surrounded by people whom I love and who love me. And for that reason alone... I will not be sad.
I love you, Grandmother!