“Lionel stopped calling me,” my grandmother said to me last week.
“…and I’m lonely.”
Lionel, my grandmother’s boyfriend, has been calling her 5-10 times a day since he moved into the Alzheimer’s unit at an assisted living home earlier this year.
Then last week he just stopped.
Forgot that there was someone he was supposed to call that day.
Since Lionel moved out her house, my grandmother has been at a complete loss as to what to do with herself.
This boredom has led to long phone conversations with scammers.
And sending money to scammers.
“Grandma, why in God’s name are you talking to these people? When they call you, just hang up!”
“Oh, I know they’re silly, I just like entertaining them.”
What’s she really not telling me, and what my mother has shared with me, is that deep down, my grandmother really thinks she could be “the next millionaire!”.
Having been a business owner for 35 years, I’m absolutely floored that my grandmother has fallen into this (more…)
I wrote this last month while visiting home. It was a difficult one to write. Did a lot of reflecting…
As the plane descended over the familiar lush landscape that is my hometown, several emotions reacquainted themselves with me. Feelings of joy, sadness, fear and optimism alternated dance steps in my brain.
“Where has all the time gone?”
“What will the future hold?”
“What happened to all the people I loved who have passed?”
“How can I keep moving forward?”
These are questions I don’t ask myself anymore. They’re only questions raised when provoked by the sight of my past, which is something that happens irregularly since I moved away from my home and family eight years ago.
In our attempt to live a fulfilling adult life, it’s often easy to get caught up in the minutia and forget what you’re thinking, feeling. To forget where you came from.
This last trip home wouldn’t let me walk past the flowers without perking my senses.
I was picked up by my beautiful and cheerful (more…)
I’ve debated whether or not to write this post out of privacy of the person its about.
Due to the delicate subject matter, I will keep the less dignifying moments- and there are a lot of them- out of the story. However, I’m still going to talk about the matter at hand because the matter is very real and very prominent in my life and in the lives of so many others.
Alzheimer’s is an ugly disease. It is a repugnant and bitter illness that has its way with the host- stealing memories, stirring up unwelcome emotions, breaking down the body- until one day it leaves nothing but a shell.
Lionel is at the point where he’s fighting the invasion tooth and nail. He’s been committed to the hospital where he’s gone in an out of lucidity. He knows who we all are, but he often forgets the details of his life. One thing he is certain about? He doesn’t want to be at the hospital.
The sad realization is- this is the tipping point of Lionel’s true descent.
He will not be going home.
Visiting home is always…always…
I’m not sure what the word is.
Every time I visit home I feel different. Like the arm of a clock on a different time. When I was 22, I was 3AM, when I was 25, I was 4PM and now the clock rests on noon.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve mellowed out. Initially their dutiful daughter who always did what she was told suddenly did not like it. She snapped back. She was trying to figure out who she was and the last thing she needed was someone infringing on her time alone in her head.
Now, now she knows who she is. Now she doesn’t have a guttural reaction when one of them does nothing more than simply be the overly-concerned mother or grandmother that they are.
But coming home brings a new emotion. It’s no longer youthful angst, but rather seeing something I don’t want to see.
Something I’ll pretend is not happening.
As I hung in the doorway of my grandmother’s bedroom watching her get ready to go out, I noticed how small she looked. The weight (more…)
Grandma doing her most favorite thing in the world- slapping Lionel
Grandma: I now have what you call “muffins”.
Grandma: My stomach is blubbery and turned into muffins.
Me: Do you mean a “muffin top”? You have a muffin top?
Grandma: Yes, I have muffins.
I speak to my grandmother almost every day and typically an exchange like the one above happens every time I talk to her. Our conversations are never boring. My favorite is when she asked me how my “blah” was doing. You know, that thing I’m writing this post on right now? I’m extremely close to my grandmother and the past few months have been challenging for all of us. She broke her back in multiple places and refused to take painkillers and her live-in boyfriend of twelve years, Lionel, is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. The excruciating pain mixed with Grandma’s belief that Lionel is acting forgetful to spite her made her a raging bitch for awhile. Now the pain has subsided and she can walk vertically, (more…)