Grandma

Had our family reunion today. On the bright side, my 94ish year old Grandmother made it. That is extra surprising for  couple of reasons.

First, it was at Blue Lake Park and I do not think I would be exaggerating to say it was about 3.2 million degrees outside, very unpleasant. I live in Oregon because I don't have to suffer the sun often, but this summer has blown mighty chunks of hairy lemur underarm pit sweat from that regard.

Second, people have been talking for a while about how quick she is going downhill. She sometimes doesn't recognize even her own kids, talks to Ben (who has been dead over 30 years), and other signs of dementia.

I have visited her several times during this period and never had a problem. She has always been lucid, talked to me intelligently, and so forth.

Until today.

Today she did not recognize me. Asked who I was. 

"Drew."

"Who?"

"Andrew."

"Who?"

"Hugh's son."

"Who?"

"Hoss's son."*

"Hoss? Hugh?"

"Your son."

Pause. Realization dawns.

"Oh, sorry, I didn't recognize you. You never have visited me."

"I was there less than two weeks ago."

"You were?"


It is one thing to hear about problems someone you love is having, another entirely to see them yourself. That is the first time she has not recognized me.
I know Dementia and similar issues are serious for everyone and they hurt to watch. 

At the risk of sounding cold-blooded, it would not be the worst thing for Grandma if she went to sleep tonight...and did not wake up in the morning. She has had a long, full life. There were good times and bad times. 

But I suspect her final time is drawing near. I will value all the time she has left...but will not grieve when her time comes. 

*Hoss was a nickname he picked up when Bonanza was a popular show. Lots of people thought he looked like Ben Blocker, the big guy who played Hoss Cartwright on the show. In fact, Dad and some friends capitalized on this by starting a band they called Hoss and the Cantwrights. (Can't Write).  But that nickname was about 30 years ago as well, though some people still occasionally use it.

2 comments:

pheromone girl said...

It's tough to watch someone we love go through that. I had a relative who had a taumatic brain injury and recovered very well. During the time when she was incoherent and had memory loss, she was in a different place and doesn't remember today what happened then.

If it makes you feel any better, I guess I'm trying to say, she doesn't realize what she's missing. I understand the sentiment completely.

Riot Kitty said...

The last time I saw my great-grandmother (who died at 99 when I was a junior in high school), she didn't recognize anyone. I was 12 and it was heartbreaking, and I didn't understand why everyone seemed so resigned to it.

I'm sorry because I know this is painful. I hope you can hang on to the good times.