Three years ago, coming from school to spend the Thanksgiving break with family in Mississippi. Excited because I have not seen them in a while, I was very anxious to pull up to the drive way. My mother and grandmother greeted me as though as I have been away for decades. We do keep in touch, but it’s just something about face-to-face contact when it comes to loved one. I was glad to be home and they were glad that I was present after many times of not being able to make a few occasions due to school and work. As I was getting settled in, my mom was making a grocery list of things to get when we went to shop to make the thanksgiving meal. At this time, all I could think of was food. Out of all honesty, my mom and aunts only did a small portion of the cooking, but my grandmother was in charge of everything. Years prior, she would make enough food to feed an entire community and that’s exactly what she did. Feed the community as well. She saw everyone as family and would give her last just to help others out. I was so thankful and still until this day to have her as my grandmother.
Later on that day, my mother had made up her mind that she was going to give grandmother a break and try to cook everything by her lonesome along with the help of my aunts. I asked if I could assist with anything, and I was told that me being there was enough, but I decided to help with a number of things anyway. My mother has everything to make the dressing, but felt as though she was missing something. My mother asked my grandmother what all she needed to make it and this is when I knew that something was a little off. She begin to name a few items and then all of a sudden she said “I’ve forgotten.’I thought she was just being a little facetious, but when I saw her puzzling facial expression, I knew something was not right. We just put it on the golden ages (old age) and did not think anymore of it. It wasn’t until a few months after by mom had called and told me that my grandmother was constantly repeating things over and over again and that she was forgetting where she would lay her belongings. I immediately thought of dementia. I informed my mother about it and she scheduled an appointment with the local family doctor. After a few cat scans and tests, the doctor called and told my mother than my grandmother now has dementia and the beginning stages of alzheimer’s is setting in, I was in complete shock. Well not completely shocked, but I was a little surprised to hear what I was being told. This woman that I have known all of my life, strong, encouraging, courageous, and one who could make enemies who wanted to kill each other return to the best of friends, this includes family, memories were fading before me. It hurt a lot, but I know that it’s life and we have to build ourselves to expect the worse and hope for the best as dark and cold as that may sound.
Almost two years later, she’s almost a completely different person. She literally repeats things over and over until two people tells her that she has said it more than once. That still isn’t enough. Most times, she thinks my mom is her aunt and she has forgotten the name of most of her children. She has nine of them by the way. Sometimes she acts like a child and throws tantrums. I do cry sometime because it hurts to see her going through this, but I know deep down she’s still that same person that I’ve known all of my life. I’ve put my goals on hold just to take care of her. We would never think about putting her in an retirement home because I know if she was still in her right mind and this situation was reversed, she wouldn’t do it to either of us. We do have good days with her and as well as bad, but the good has outdone the bad tremendously. We all have depended upon her for a large percentage of our lives and now she’s depending on us to take care of her and we’re going to do just that until it’s time for her to be called “Home”and free of any mind-blowing disease.