It all started a month ago when my husband stated “we should go see your Grandmother for Mother’s Day.” A statement that excited me as much as it frightened me…
My Grandmother has Alzheimer’s. The last post I wrote on her was when she was first diagnosed and while I’ve visited her since, I haven’t posted since. She’s had Alzheimer’s for a few years now and every time I see her, I come to the painful realization that the disease has claimed yet another one of her cherished memories (and she has so many). I also realize, there’s no going back. As much as I would like her to come back from this, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and she will never again regain the memories that she has lost. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s hard for me to admit. She is one of the most vivacious and adventurous people I have ever known, a constant inspiration and one of my dearest friends. She’s not just my Grandmother but a wise old friend and true confidant.
So my husband’s idea was bitter-sweet. I love him for suggesting it. I’m just scared. Trepidatious. I never know what to expect with each visit and find myself hopelessly wishing I could stop time. If only I were a super-hero. I thought she was, when I was five, in the way that she told stories or taught me how to ride a bike or how to cook “guatemalan style.” I wish I could be that for her right now.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized… I can. By not having any expectations, I can. I can keep the mood light, consistently give her my patience and listen. I can help her whenever and wherever she needs to go and I can laugh heartily at her joke as she repeats it for the seventh time (cause lets face it, sometimes, that’s the best delivery). With each visit, I see the constant fear in her eyes, the questions and her hesitant body language but I can also turn it around. Because it’s not about me, it’s about her. She is still here. She’s a little scarred, a bit bruised but she is still here. She still dances, smiles and her eyes still light up when you walk into a room. She is still here and for that I am grateful.
That to me is what mother’s day is all about, to celebrate the love, care, peace and patience that they have brought to our own lives. My grandmother raised three strong boys and played a huge roll in the greatest love story I have ever witnessed. She came to America from Guatemala, taught herself English and vivaciously became a US citizen. I am proud to spend this day with her and proud to have my mother by my side for the entire journey. There is no room for fear and I realize that now. It’s going to be hard but it’s going to be fabulous- three generations of awesome (to be exact) because ”The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
My husband is right- she deserves to be surrounded by family, on this day especially. So, as this is being posted, I’m happy to report that we are exactly three hours into our journey, to Arizona. My husband, my mother and I, soon to be reunited with Mi Abuela. I can’t think of a better way to spend this precious day.
Abuela, te quiero mucho y te llevo en mi corazón. Felix día de las Madres.
The first time my grandmother moved into her new senior citizens home, my mother and I drove over to help her decorate. She went from a two bedroom bungalow, located within a Country Club, to a single room. It was a nice room but a big change for her nonetheless. As a way to break the ice, I asked her to pose for me and to share with me what her expectations were. At the time she was excited about her new friends, new dance partners and our next visit… I love you grandma.