Wednesday, June 11, 2014


My grandmother developed a severe case of Alzheimer's once she hit her mid 80's. There was an immediate loss of short term memory. So bad in fact that I believed she had a stroke of some kind because it appeared so immediate. Of course it was a gradual loss but then it just dropped off a cliff. Short term memory gone!

One of my Mom's best friends is suffering from a form of dementia. She is 70. I've know her my entire life and she's been friends with my Mom for 40+ years. I am also good friends with her nephew who is my age. He lost his Mom (her sister) last year and she also suffered from early onset of dementia. It's apparently hereditary.

They moved to FL in 2001 and are in town for the week. My Mom cooked a big dinner tonight realizing that this may be one of the last times she sees her friend while she has some of her mental faculties. She asked me about
5 times where I went to school and 3 times if I had my outfit ready for my interview on Monday. No short term memory but she was so excited to see me and give me a hug.

I could tell her son was getting tired, frustrated and impatient but dementia and Alzheimer's are not logical conditions. If you try to apply logic, you will only get more frustrated. It takes strong patience to care for a loved one affected by dementia and Alzheimer's.

I remember that I used to laugh to keep from crying when my grandmother would have episodes. What she would say and what she would do made no sense what so ever. You just had to go along and make sure she didn't hurt herself. I developed a lot of patience.

I kept thinking this evening just how thankful I am that my parents are in better health, thankful that they can actually fully participate in life and that we can still share in quality time.

In 2009, my nephew was born and my sister had a post delivery complication that could have taken her life. A month later, I developed health issues. A couple months after that, my Dad had a massive heart attack and nearly died. And a few months later, my grandmother slipped into Alzheimer's. I will always remember that year. Not because of all the tragedy but because of how all of it brought my family closer together and because I am a more humble, less judgmental, relatable and better person because of what happened to me and to my family.

I don't take a single moment with them for granted or a single moment with the people I love for granted. Even when people upset me, I still tell them I love them and wish them well. I can't hold on to anger for long. I am not that person. I am just so thankful for the gifts of love, care and quality time. It means something to me when someone gives me their time because it's their most precious possession. The fact that they are willing to share it with me is such a blessing. That's me. That's who I am. I am so sorry my Mom's friend is inflicted with dementia. But I do know by the show of people that were around her today that she is loved.

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