Sunday, September 15, 2019

It's in the answer

I have been holding onto this gem since July. I guess I was struggling with exactly what I wanted to say, or how to frame it. For a period of time I found myself getting slightly agitated when people on the fringe of my small inner circle asked how my grandmother was. How was I supposed to answer that question? Most often I would just respond that she was "fine," but that didn't really seem fair to either my grandmother or myself. It also wasn't necessarily fair to blame the person for asking. Eventually I came around to accept that my discomfort at answering someone's question did not mean that the inquiry was flawed.

How is my grandmother? Well for starters, much of the time she is not my grandmother. For those of you who have met dementia, this probably resonates, but for anyone else, I would like to explain. I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about the long goodbye that has taken place, because that is sad, goes without saying, and not my point. When we show up to visit, the best we hope for is that she seems content and comfortable. There are still sparks of my grandmother's personality that come through from time to time. I do still feel her love, whether it is in the smile as she recognizes me or when she rubs my arm or puts her head on my shoulder. When she complains about the look on a fellow resident's face or offers other critiques, I know she's still holding on to pieces of herself. She still manages to teach me things, like finding a patience I never knew I had. The time we spend together is very different than it was, but still has its bright spots. Sometimes I don't recognize them right away.

My grandmother had just commented on how I should get married. I told her I was married. She asked how old I was, and when I responded "49," she said "That's older than me," and I thought maybe what followed would be worth recording. I think this may best answer the question, "How's your grandmother?"


  1. That is so nice and kind of you. Thank you for sharing. That is just the way I conversed with my father-in-law during his last year. It is sad and amusing at the same time. Our doing a great job.

  2. very bittersweet. You are being a good granddaughter, and you have good memories of her whole self. Take care

  3. My ex mother in law is in the throes of Alzheimer's and let me tell you, it's a sad journey for those who are on the outside of it.
    You are such a wonderful granddaughter to her and she, I am sure, deserves your patience.
    Sending you a huge hug, my dear friend.

  4. She's still in there, even when it doesn't seem like it.


  5. I was in the same situation not long ago, I was grandma's favorite we spent a lot of time together, she definitely showed me how to love everybody and to see beauty in everyone. When dementia hit I was devastated at first but then she should me a different light. I heard stories about her past that I never heard before and when I would tell my mother she was blown away that she remembered that. So in away it was a gift and a sadness all in one. My your days find joy in this tough time, and she is still with you even when she can not show it. Send virtual hugs your way.