This past weekend, my mother, husband, and sister flew down to Georgia to take my grandmother to her family reunion. My grandma has Alzheimer’s, and it’s a disease, like so many others, that only gets worse.
At times, I admit, it has disturbed my faithful commitment to the intrinsic value of life as worth living. But I’d like to share a few episodes from our trip that underscore her untarnished ability to love and to give. (Names have been changed)
The Whole Gang
Grandma is riding in the front seat while mom drives. She nods off often, head drooping low with her chin almost touching her chest. The angle of it scares me. She wakes up sometimes and looks at my mom. “Won’t you stay in my apartment tonight?” she invites. “You can sleep on the pull out bed in the living room.”
“Thank you,” mom says, “but I’m staying at Park Circle tonight.” That’s where grandma lived for over fifty years before she moved into assisted living.
Grandma seems concerned. “Oh, are you alone?” she asks.
“No,” mom answers patiently.
“Well, who’s with you?” Grandma wants to know.
Mom shakes her head. This conversation has already happened three times during the car ride. “Look behind you.”
Grandma shifts her weight and cranes her neck to look into the back seat. She almost jumps! She is clearly surprised to see my sister, my husband and me sitting there. “Oh!” she exclaims, “I forget they were here.”
“Do you know who they are?” my mom quizzes her.
“Yeeah,” she draws southernly, “that’s Jeff, Stephanie, Lynne and Anna.”Lynne, our other sister, is not there, but Grandma has correctly identified that Lynne and Anna usually come as a pair. Continue reading