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Posts Tagged ‘Alzheimer’s’

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Granma

The smile on Grandma’s face made Barbara cry. It had been so long since she had seen anything but a vacant look on her grandmother’s face. She had tried to get her room changed for many months. Finally, Mr. Adams’ room had been vacated and the Director had asked Barbara if it would be adequate. The window overlooked the playground in the lot behind the home and it was perfect. Grandma had been moved while Barbara pushed her wheelchair all over the home, marking time for her things to be moved. Barbara talked to her grandmother non stop as she pushed the chair.

Finally, arriving at her new room, Barbara placed her grandmother’s chair by the window where she could watch the children playing. At the moment, there were several children there, including two little girls who appeared to be sisters, playing with a woman old enough to be their grandmother. Barbara wondered if Grandma, somewhere in her mind, was remembering all the park days they had shared. There was a slight change in her eyes. Maybe Barbara was wrong. Maybe she was looking for hope where there was none. But she seemed to see a bit of a light starting to shine, way deep inside those clouded blue eyes.

As she left, Barbara looked back at her grandmother and although there were tears, she also had a smile. She knew changing rooms had been the right thing to do for Grandma.

Alexa

Babs

Curtis

Diane

Eve

Fran

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a2z-h-small

Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Barbara

Barbara walked into the room. She had been standing at the door watching her grandmother sitting at the window looking out at nothing with a vacant look in her eyes. No one knew what she was seeing or what she was thinking. Grandma hadn’t been able to tell them that in a couple of years but Barbara never lost hope that one day her grandmother would be able to tell them something or recognize her.

Day after day, she sat at the window looking out at the wall of the adjacent building. Barbara wished she could have her moved to a room with a view where she could look out at the park behind the home, or even out at the street in front of the building. The Director said there were no rooms available so they had to wait. Barbara felt a little guilty because as she hoped for a vacancy, that meant someone would be dying because that was about the only way people left this place. But Barbara wanted a view for Grandma. She remembered all the times her grandmother would take her to parks to play and to the river for walks. Her grandmother had loved to watch people and make up imaginary stories about where they were off to when they left her view. At the park, Grandma would push her on the swings, even after she learned to pump her legs to swing herself. Grandma ran with her and laughed with her; she kissed her boo boos and held her tight. Grandma was the only one allowed to call her Babs. No one else could do that without getting a kick in the shins. Only Grandma. Barbara missed her so much.

She walked to Grandma and started talking to her. They said Grandma didn’t understand her but Barbara didn’t care. Barbara sat and talked to her and reminded her of the days they went to the park and the trips they used to take and she laughed for Grandma, even if Grandma couldn’t laugh for herself.

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As I talk to my mother since my father’s death in mid May, I get a bigger picture of what he was like in the last months before he died. He had Alzheimer’s. I don’t know all that much about the disease, other than what I have seen portrayed in movies and on TV and in novels so some of the things she has told me are surprising to me.

He forgot so many things, but at the end of visits, he would ask when his sons were going to come visit him. he would ask for them by name: Carlos, Richard, and David. All three of his sons preceded him in death, but he forgot. What is interesting to me is that he remembered that he had sons even when he forgot everything else.

He forgot who my mother was. As they sat and talked about their children and their pasts, my father found it funny that they both had 7 children, 3 sons and 4 daughters, and that his kids’ names were the same as her kids’ names. She would try to explain to him that the reason was that his children were also her children but he didn’t get it. He found it funny that they had lived in the same cities and on the same streets and never met!

In the end, he forgot how to speak English. He spoke only Spanish.

And the one thing he never forgot was the name of his children. He remembered all of our names: Carlos, Richard, David, Sylvia, Corina, Irene, and Gilda. Even in the last couple of weeks, when he could barely speak, he was asking for each of us by name and wanting to see us.

In the end, his mind was clear. His memory was back. He knew who my mom was. He knew who my sisters were. And he knew that I could not come to see him because of my illness. I’m glad he knew that much. I would hate it if he had died thinking that I did not want to see him. It’s bad enough that I could not be there. At least he knew and understood that I could not be there.

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