A week ago, I was watching the “Sex and the City” episode “An American Girl in Paris (Part Deux)”. The scene where Steve takes his mother to the ER and discovers she unknowingly suffered a stroke that caused her to have significant memory loss, made me think of my paternal grandmother and grandfather.
My grandfather (known as Pa-Pa), was diagnosed with Alzheimer's before passing away in 2000 and now my Grandma suffers with the disease along with RA. At her request, she still lives in the same house that she and my grandfather shared for many years. My dad along with my aunt and uncle take care of her daily in shifts.
Last month, the boys and I made a trip to Birmingham to visit her, because she told my dad she wanted to see all of her grand- and great-grand children. It was heartbreaking to see her in her condition…as a frail elderly woman who didn’t know who I was. As her oldest granddaughter, it was upsetting to see her memory come and go during our visit. For example, she asked me where my girls were. I gently told her that I didn’t have any girls, only boys, but it was my sister who had girls. In another instance, she and I would be reminiscing one minute and the next she asked me what was my name.
She softly complained that her hair was a mess. So I took the time to nicely cornrow her hair until she fell asleep. I remember when I was a little girl, she would let me comb her hair all the time. Only back then she had a head full of long hair that I decorated with a million barrettes.
By the end of our visit, I was very proud and so impressed with my dad’s enormous amount of patience, love, and care he showed my Grandma that day. I never realized the amount of energy and patience required to take care of an elderly parent, who can no longer take care of themselves...completely reliant on others.
But my dad had it all together. He spoke to her as though she was his sweet, helpless child when he helped her to the bathroom. It was the most lovable moment to witness: a son taking care of his mother.
Sadly, at some point in my life, I will have to do the same for my parents and my children will have to do the same for me.
~ Marquise Antoinette