Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sho' Fly and Jubba the Cat

Shepherd and my Grandmother
Originally uploaded by meandscreech.
Before we left for our vacation, we attended my cousin's wedding. My little cousin, who I played in the hay barns with when we were little. The one who always talked loud because of his hearing loss, and I likewise, because of mine. We understood one another, to a point, and always would pal up and play together on the farm. Whether we were sliding down hay bales, exploring the creeks on the farm, putting on plays for our family, climbing trees, swinging on tire swings, or just being silly, the three of us (Justin, Paul, and I) were inseperable. It was such a joy to see him all grown up and getting married. I was so proud to see him up there. But before the wedding, we made a stop. A much needed visit to someone I love dearly, but who hardly remembers me.

My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimers several years ago. She was fortunate enough to be diagnosed relatively early, and was able to delay the disease some. She was able to live at home for a long time, thanks to a live-in helper, until last year, when it was necessary to put her in a nursing home. My grandmother has been confused for years now, asking questions over again, and not remembering little things. But she always remembered me. It wasn't until recently that she began to forget who we were, or at least feigned recognition to be polite. It's been a hard road, as she is my only biological grandmother left. I wanted more than anything to tell her about my pregnancy, about the birth of my child, about everything, but she couldn't hardly process that I was married, yet alone pregnant. The last time I went to visit her, she eyed my 8 month pregnant belly, and eyed me suspiciously, as if she was trying to understand how I was pregnant and unmarried (remember, she doesn't always remember that I am in fact, married). After the baby was born, I wanted to visit her, but timing was never good. The nursing home had to be quarintined because of some virus spreading around. Finally, they got it under control and last weekend we were able to stop by to see her. I walked in the room, and before anyone prompted her, she smiled at me, and said, "Hi Corinne!" in the usual way she would have greeted me. Angels singing couldn't have sounded better than the sound of my name rolling off of her lips. I had Shepherd with me, and after some small talk, I handed him off to her for her to hold him. She just stared at him, admiring his head full of hair, and kept talking about how beautiful his hair was. In those few moments, I watched them, and my heart ached. I wondered if she would remember Shepherd after we left... I wondered if Shepherd would ever know my grandmother. I know that he'll never know the fun loving woman that I knew growing up. He'll never hear her silly songs that she sang. All he will ever know are the pictures that we took of him, as an infant, sitting on his great-grandmother's lap. And at that moment, my heart was heavy. I was joyful for the moment, yet I mourned for the future. I was grateful for the time that we were given to see my grandmother, to talk with her, to laugh with her. I was overjoyed that she remembered me, that she held my son, and that for a moment, she loved him, and knew him. I don't know where the mind goes, but I have to hope that somewhere in the depths of her heart, she knows Shepherd, and loves him, just as I hope that she knows me and loves me still. I was filled with happiness, when she sang some of her silly songs, at times confusing the words, and not exactly making sense, but still singing, smiling, and trying to bounce her knee with Shepherd sitting there... and it was then that I knew that she knows... that she remembers... and even if she can never recall my name again, and if she can't recall that I have a son, for one brief moment in time, she knew... and that has to be enough.


Much More Than A Mom said...

What a wonderful post! I am taking my son to meet my grandma next weekend. She is 96 years old and in a similar situation (dementia, not Alzheimers, but whatever). I can't wait for him to meet her, if only for the photos since neither of them will remember.

If I participated in the Perfect Post Award, this would be it. Since I don't, please accept the sentiment anyway.

Lizzy said...

what a heartbreakingly beautiful post.