Jul 13, 2015

Alzheimer's Made My World Different

I hate Alzheimer's Disease. 

It's so hard to keep focused and positive these days. Watching my grandmother pass away naturally. I know what the outcome will be but even that is difficult to accept knowing that life will never be the same again without her. I already miss her smiles and touch of her hand. I miss her goofy laugh and thick Alabama accent. I miss her mixed greens and pan fried hoecakes. I miss all shopping trips to the flower shops and Thriftway on Saturday mornings. Sitting in the backseat of that red Oldsmobile with her and my mother, with my father driving and my grandfather in the passenger seat. I felt so privileged to grocery shop with my grandmother! It was like I had the inside trade secrets on what goodies she would have for us in the kitchen! I miss it all. I remember everything.

But now it's like 3 shadows were in that car. I can still see them, but everything is in slow motion in head. My mother and I are still warm, sitting beside each other in the backseat. One day, I'll be sitting there alone.

It is all a bitter pill to swallow. 

God knows how much we can bear. Looking back, it was hard but it was never a burden to help take care of my grandmother. It was a fact of life. She had the disease. Now we had to take care of her the best we could. It was fact. 

The hardest part really is/ was taking care of my own mother. It felt like I had lost my mother sometimes and she became this super caregiver who was obsessed with everything grandma! Phone calls sparsely began with hello and conversations rarely included plans for mother/daughter dates. Any time I had with my mother included my grandmother as well and that enlisted us both giving most of our attention to her. 

In that I had to grow up and understand that it's not all about me... it's about the love and respect I give to others. I learned more patience than ever before. I learned how to bear the weight of others and not make it my cause to solve their problems even when I wanted. I learned how to hold my peace and let God fight for me. I learned how to pray more and talk less. I learned how to stand still but to run to hills when need be.

I can see my mom coming back to herself but she's still not sure what to do with her time now. Shes going from caring for her child, then her father, then her husband, then her mother.  And then what? My hope for her is that she starts to live her life for herself and enjoy retirement. But that's up to her. She is hard-headed. I'm pretty sure she'll find a way to take care of someone else... that's who she is.

I look into the future and hope there can be a world without diseases like Alzheimer's. Hopefully a cure or some type of sure prevention can keep people from having to suffer. Then realizing that this disease is still not done with my family.  Other family members are suffering and have suffered, It is changing our lives, making us see the world differently, drawing us closer in a different way,  rallying us to do better for ourselves and for each other. 

I wish I could have changed things in another direction.

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