Monday, May 19, 2014

A Lesson from Grandma

Caring for my dying grandmother is something special. It's an honor, really, but not one I've earned or hoped to achieve. 

Some of my shifts have been difficult and physically demanding. Almost all are confusing, trying to figure out what it is she's saying, to whom it's being said, in which decade she's existing at that moment.

Tonight she's been very quiet and peaceful, a welcome change, perhaps due to her healing hip and change in pain medication.

She talks about Grandpa, who passed away in 2006. She's told us she's mad at him for leaving her alone. Can't say I blame her. I'd probably feel the same way if the love of my life for 60 years went before me. She said they were "buddies." I asked her to tell me about him, how they met, what they did. She smiled and told me about dancing and bowling with him. I learned you never stop loving your one true love. 

She asked tonight about her kids. I went down the list, telling her how happily married all three of her children are, how they all have kids who have kids who have kids, and that they are all alright. She says if they are alright she won't worry. I reassured her several times they are. Almost every time I'm here she asks me where they are. I learn you never stop being a mom, even when you're a great-grandmother. I don't think she asks about them when they are here. No matter where her dementia takes her, she seems to know that that I am FROM them, but I am not ONE of them. 

She wants to call her mom. Her mother passed in the 80's, when I was a child. I have faint memories of her. Photos, really. Noni passed almost 30 years ago, and still she wants to call her. I learned you never stop being a daughter, ever.

Wife, mother, daughter. 

Even though her mind and body fail, love does not.

"Love never fails," 1 Corinthians 13:8. 

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