My sister Olivia and I took Mom to Seattle on the 14th to celebrate Mother's Day with our grandma.
I don't know if I can describe what it was like to visit my 91 year old Grandmother with my 58 year old mother who has been living with Alzheimer's for 4 years. It was rough. A lot of stories got repeated. There were moments of disorientation (for all parties involved). It was like being with two caricatures of women I used to know.
It was also beautiful. Even with memory lapses and confusion about where we were and why, Mom and Grandma were happy to see each other. We laughed a lot. Aging has awakened a child-like appreciation of the world in both of them. There's nothing like Alzheimer's to force you to live "in the moment." And there were a lot of special moments on Saturday.
Mom always used to initiate our get-togethers. She and Grandma talked on the phone weekly for as long as I can remember. Since life has changed so dramatically in the last four years, they've only seen each other a handful of times.
Grandma was in denial for a long time about her daughter having Alzheimer's. She told us a few Christmases ago, "We just have to pray! She hasn't been healed because we don't have enough faith!" Less than helpful. It was easier to avoid big family gatherings.
But the years have softened some edges and Grandma made no such comments during this visit.
Seeing Mom in the role of daughter was the most like herself I've seen her in a long time: listening attentively to stories, sympathy for her mom's aches and pains, laughing in her good natured way.
|Mom's calligraphy. A gift to Grandma many years ago.|
Mom gave Grandma a hug and, face to face, told her "I love you so much."
Grandma said, "I love you so much, too."
I was SO glad to be with Olivia. We handled the day beautifully together, and then both had emotional melt-downs the next day. It takes a toll.
But we were both happy to make it happen. It was the best gift we could have given.