I'm going to say this was last Halloween, because I swear I don't usually let him leave the house like this .Grandma was a real lady. She always gave advice like "moisturize your elbows because otherwise when you go to a dance and wear long gloves and all the boys can see is your elbows and if you have dry elbows then no boys will ask you to dance." If you see me at BlogHer, ask to see my elbows. Like a baby's bottom. Sans poop.
She had a pretty decent sense of humor as well. During a family game of Scattergories, when everyone else filled in the "Question starting with W" with an innocuous "Who's there?" or "When are you coming?" Grandma wanted to know "Where are the fathers of all these bastard children?" (1)
When Papa had a heart attack in the Fall of 2005, my mom & I moved them from their Del Boca Vista condo to a Sunrise facility halfway between our houses. While the circumstances sucked, this afforded my children an amazing opportunity; to spend serious quality time with their great-grandparents.
And we did.
We visited every week, usually two or three times a week. My kids knew every resident of that Sunrise, which ones to avoid and which ones had candy. Every hallway, every passcode. Which aides would sneak them a can of Shasta and where the cat liked to hide. They joined in at Art time, helped with crossword puzzles and generally made themselves at home.
At first, Grandma's Alzheimers wasn't too bad. She was quirky, worried about things like sinking submarines and people stealing her socks (2) But when Papa suffered his second heart attack and was hospitalized, leaving her alone in the strange new surroundings she quickly fell apart. One day I tried to take her to get her hair done and watch Noa's ballet class. We were stopping at the bank to deposit her social security check, when she became convinced that we were actually robbing the bank. (3) Immediately she sprang into action with a plan to hide the car and ditch the fuzz (4) I took her back to the facility and never got the guts to take her out by myself again.
About 8 weeks ago things started deteriorating rapidly. Grandma left the hospital and entered hospice. We upped our visits to as often as possible but it didn't help. Last month she stopped talking and then last week she stopped eating.
Alzheimer's Disease is a real bitch I tell you.
Today, for the first time in four years, my kids are off school and I have no idea what to do with them. In their condolences, people tell me how lucky Grandma was to have us, but they have it wrong. We were the lucky ones.
1) Although in retrospect, it was the first sign of the Alzheimer's disease and she was possibly referring to MY kids. Still, pretty damn funny.
2) Which actually was a real problem, it turned out.
3) Which, fyi, we were not.
4) I have NO idea. I'm guessing movies?