I'm Mourning and She is Still Alive

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Originally posted February 27, 2006

My grandmother passed away in 2005 from Dementia brought on by two strokes. I’m reposting for caregivers with a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. For those who have not been a caregiver, the post may help you down the road. Caregivers commit every ounce of energy to keep their loved one comfortable, take care of yourself. Your body can physically break down. Due to her lack of memory it’s hard to take an eye off her, 24/7. I was fortunate we had hospice care, allowing Gramps to play domino’s everyday until the last months.  He was strong in accepting his life changed dramatically. He never complained. 

A month ago my grandmother fell and broke her hip, a bad situation for any 85-year-old. Made worse with the memory loss. The hospital had the worst staff.. She’s home after a week in the hospital and another in a nursing home. That was hard on me, thinking about leaving her there and the response when Gramps wasn’t at her side. I took the grave shift and slept on floor next to her. 

My mind runs to at high level by switching to what I call “caregiver mode”. I can manage tons of information, what drugs each takes, scheduling appointments, discuss test results or anything needed to take care of two people who are dying and “switch back” when at home.

Before the fall, my grandmother knew me and though our conversations were limited, I enjoyed sharing  memories with her. She really enjoyed a photo book I put together that had many photos of her beloved dog, Blackie. Thinking about Blackie always made her smile and even though he died twenty years ago she remembered like it was today.

Driving to their house one day, tears started rolling down my face. I could not stop crying. It took a few minutes to figure out what was causing so much pain. I switched from caregiver to granddaughter.  My grandmother no longer knew me. We would not share our memories again. I knew the day would come and  prayed our memories calmed her in some way. Seeing her memory fade by the days was harder than I imagined. I’m blessed being a caregiver to both grandparents  

I”m miss my granny and think of her several times a day.

XO Melinda

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