Friday, March 30, 2012

Words that Warm My Heart

Lately, when I talk to my Nana on the phone, she will tell me to let everyone know that she loves them very much. I love to hear that from her because sometimes, when she is not having a good day and she seems so confused, hearing those words makes me feel like the Alzheimer's hasn't completely taken her. "Make sure to tell everyone that I love them very much"... it just warms my heart and puts a smile on my face. When I hear her say that I think "there she is, there's my Nana". Nana was always good about telling us how much she loved us and she always put little xxx's and ooo's on the bottoms of all of our Birthday cards. Sometimes the number of x's and o's would reflect how old we were (i.e. if we were six then we got six x's and six o's). I remember I always opened the card right away to see those hugs and kisses at the bottom of the message.

Yesterday, I talked to my Nana on the phone and she seemed in great spirits. I love to hear her happy. She immediately wanted me to quiz her on her spelling. At first I gave her easy words, thinking that she would feel disappointed if she misspelled something. She spelled everything correctly so I started to pick more difficult words. I was completely impressed... She's a darn good speller. I wonder if that part of the brain is normally affected with Alzheimer's? The part that helps you problem solve? Something to look into anyway.

Nana still knows who I am when I talk to her. I may have to repeat my name a few times during our conversation, but she still knows me. I will be so sad when she no longer knows who I am, but I know that day is coming. I feel like time is slipping away and I desperately want to go see her again. I hope to make it to Chicago this summer, but it will be difficult with working full time still. Aiyana keeps asking about her "other Nana" and she keeps saying that she wants to go to "Cago" to see Alisa (my sister) and the "other Nana".

Nana told me on the phone yesterday that she loves to dance and that she wanted to go dancing. She use to do that a lot when she was younger. She also use to sew and do a lot of projects around the house. As she got older she started to paint and go to BINGO, but she continued to love re-arranging her house and decorating it. Now Nana can't keep up at BINGO and she doesn't have a house to decorate anymore. It seems like she is reverting back to some of her older hobbies, like dancing. Alzheimer's has a funny way of bringing someone backwards... like they are child again. Victims of Alzheimer's even relive much of their past as if it happened all over again (i.e. deaths, births, etc). My Nana has recently mourned the loss of her parents who have passed many years ago. It is very sad.

Anyway, this is basically a bunch of ramblings. I wanted to document some of things my grandma said on the phone before time slipped away and I forgot what her and I talked about.

Thanks for listening!


tbsomeday said...

I'm so glad you are getting to cherish these moments

When I used to work in a nursing home in college there were some people that were confused--but SO happy
I always thought that was a good way to go out...Doris was one I remember--she was so sweet and pleasant--she kind of re-verted back to herself in her 30's
She was always happy--though confused--but not a bad way to live...hopefully when your grandma gets more confused it's in a pleasant way

Rebecca Rushton said...

I'm glad you wrote about this Amber. My grandpa who passed in 1998 had Alzheimer's as well. I was fairly young then, so it was strange to visit him in a nursing home, and he was at the point where he had no idea who I was, and was struggling to remember his children when they visited. But I do remember receiving Christmas gifts from him when I was younger, and playing with him before he became sick. There will be tough roads ahead with your nana, but try to remember all the good times you've had with her, and the memories she has shared with you. I would like to share another personal story with you that is very touching, and that may help you too, but it will have to be in person (too personal to share over the internet). So next time you see me, ask me about my grandpa, ok?