Grandma Amolia's Gift
My grandmother deteriorated quickly after my Grandpa passed away. She lives out of state and had been in a care facility for 5/6 years at the time of this story. When I went to visit her the first morning, nothing. That afternoon nothing; and again in the evening, same thing.Then the oddity of hmmm "what caused this" occurred.
The next morning I arrive asking to see my Grandma Amolia. They were somewhat surprised as Molly was in the breakfast area; she hadn't been awake at this time in months, let alone letting them dress her and ready her for the breakfast dining area with others. So the days linger on with the same routine of arrival and talking about memories. She never said a word, but her alertness had her preparing for breakfast, lunch and dinner as that was my last comment to her on leaving for the moment :I love you grandma I'll see you at lunch/dinner/breakfast. Never a word she said, then or the last time I saw her. What she did though is acknowledge by her presence that she heard, remembered; something was tickling her cranium, her spirit of past memories.
On that last day I referenced we had gone to the farmhouse for another look around before leaving the next morning for home. My littlest daughter (3 at the time) ask if she could pick some Alfalfa� as it was blooming and take it to Grandma. "Why sure Princess (my youngest's nickname) I'm sure Grandma will love them."
Towards the end of our last visit we rolled her out in her wheel chair to the patio. A beautiful spring day,sunny warm and clear. After various conversations to my Grandmother, my daughter asked if she could give her the
flowers. So this tiny little munchkin of a girl, gently sat on the lap of this tiny frail woman of 96 and said, "here grandma we brought you some flowers from your farm". Those were the tears of joy I mentioned. The eyes glistened with alertness not seen in years and I still vision a smile of contentment in her face as she took the flowered alfalfa, tears rolling down her face in abundance; tears of joy; almost twenty years ago and as fresh in my memory today as then. She still touches my heart
So I say to all, remember they have much bottled up inside. We need to learn to re-communicate, find that key. It might not open all the doors, but.... just one. My grandmother gave me a gift that day that still brings tears and a smile to my face; yes even 60 something guys can shed a tear once in a while. And I am a better man for it; grandma wise that is
I would say in closing for now, I've noticed many don't dedicate the time to love ones with ALZ. They lose patience, tolerance or their "busy" schedule says I can't spend more time; hopefully it doesn't reciprocate to them if they encounter the same someday. For those who miss that opportunity I say this: We get the gift when we find a portal of sorts, some sort of access to the heart and mind. Very satisfying when it occurs. More should try it versus avoidance and the proverbial phrase "well there's nothing I can do". There's much we can do for those we love and care about. Make the effort, persist! There will come a moment when one gets it and that is a gift