I was sitting in the backseat about ready to open a floodgate of tears.
My grandma sitting in the passenger seat had just asked with all seriousness why there were orange cones along the road. My mom patiently explained that there was roadwork happening along that stretch of interstate. And had been for about a year. It rends my heart in two to see the simple, ordinary things of life slip from grandma’s comprehension little by little.
My grandma has dementia.
When my family first realized this was the case, we put on our brave faces and determined to keep a stiff upper lip. But the more she disconnects from reality, the harder it is to keep my lip from quivering.
When you’ve explained something ten times and she still doesn’t understand. The five calls in one day we receive with the question of how much change she should get back if she gave the salon lady a twenty dollar bill. Her frustration when she can’t remember the right word. The tears she sheds every other conversation.
And the ache I get inside when I wonder if one day she’ll forget who I am.
Sometimes it makes me want to give her a hug and never let go. Sometimes it makes me want to keep my distance before she’s any less the person I remember her being.
My lack of patience has been tempted to not answer the phone… again. Sometimes my mind argues that I don’t have the strength to deal with it again without bursting into tears or getting upset cause we no longer understand one another.
But God’s never given up on me. Even when I refused to listen cause I didn’t understand Him. Even when I’ve called on Him five times in the day with the same problem. Even when I don’t feel I have the right words, much less anything worthy to give Him.
He’s never given up on me. He’ll never leave me nor forsake me.
All that and still His grace is always supplying strength in our weakness.
Those precious moments when grandma will tell a full story from her younger years. Those people who thank her for asking a question in Bible Study (whether it had to do with the topic or not). Friends who hug on her and bring out a rare smile.
If you’ve ever blessed my grandma in these little ways, thank you. You don’t know how much it means to her. And to us.
Just a moment to pause and think today. That even when it seems that a mind stealing condition is taking center stage, God is working behind the scenes, weaving hints of Act II to come in this heart rending plot called life. And when the end of Act I comes and grandma and I go to heaven, I can’t wait to hear about all the things she remembers.
11 thoughts on “Real Life Moment – Episode One”
Precious words, Rolena. Thank you for sharing. Will be praying for you and your family as you walk this path. Your grandma is blessed to have you.
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Thank you so much for taking a moment to read and for the prayers. ❤
Such a poignant perspective. May the Lord continue to provide what you and your family need to endure and thrive during this confusing, difficult time. You are loved.
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I’m confidant He will. 🙂 Thank you for your love and support! ❤
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Such wisdom from someone so young! Wonderful words! Will be praying for you and your family as you travel on this journey!!
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Thank you for the prayers, Mary! You’ve been such a blessing to us all.
Lovely thoughts. God DOES love us continually so we can love others 🙂
This is such a humbling and heart-wrenching experience. I’m so sorry to hear you and your family are going through this. I know exactly how it feels. It hurts. It’s frustrating, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s relentless. There are moments you want to laugh and then turn around and cry because that shouldn’t have been funny. There are moments you want to snap and let the anger burst. There are moments you feel keenly the loss which has already begun, the loss you shouldn’t have to feel until the one you love has passed away. It’s a different kind of loss, a loss that digs deeper, I think.
Thank you so much for sharing a small piece of your journey. And thank you for that amazing perspective shift. In all the time I went through this with my own grandmother, I never once thought about how we do the exact same thing to God. What an insight!
Aww. You know, before I posted this I had know idea how many of friends had been touched by the loss of a loved one to dementia.
I’m sorry you went through this too with your grandma. Thank you for sharing though; it brings peace knowing others can relate to this certain kind of loss. ❤
You are far from alone, my friend, far from it. ❤
I had kind of a…different…experience with Alzheimer's and dementia. Most people, like you, have a very close relationship with the person who is diagnosed with dementia. You have good memories with the grandparent or whomever, and you feel the loss more keenly than anyone can imagine. I guess I…I felt like a bit of an outsider when I went through it. I wasn't very close with my grandmother. There had been some bad blood in the family because of something that happened when I was very little, and as a result, I didn't have the best memories with her or the lifetime of chocolate chip cookies and warm, snuggly hugs. I loved her, but I felt…distanced from her. I saw how badly it hurt my dad and my grandpa, who did have that close relationship with her, and I sympathized. I'm an artist; we feel things very keenly, even when we don't experience them directly. But that said, it wasn't your normal experience for me. I was more analytical about it than most people are, and a little less emotional ALL of the time, if that makes sense. I actually wrote a creative nonfiction short story about it, but I think it's not so well received because of my nontraditional experience. XD I loved my grandma, but I was more hurt by watching her fall apart than I was that she didn't know me.
And if you ever need someone to laugh and cry with you, I am here!! I know it hurts. And I am so so sorry for you.