Friday, April 3, 2009

RIP Alzheimer Grandma

So here's the thing. I know you think you have the best Grandma, but I'm sorry to say that you were mistaken. I had the best Grandma ever. Had. She died yesterday morning.

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?


Stimey said...

I am so sorry. She does sound like the best grandma. This is a really lovely tribute to her. Warm and loving and funny. And how wonderful that you and your family were able to spend so much time with her. I am really, really sorry.

Jo Jo said...

That was a lovely in memoriam. Made me laugh and made me cry. Just perfect. What a lovely ladies you both are.

Marinka said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease (as opposed to those other, wonderful ones?) Your children are lucky that they had the chance to spend time with their great grandmother.

A lovely tribute.

Kay said...

I'm just a lurker, but wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. It's great that your kids had the chance to get to know her, it's something they'll cherish as they get older.


Beth said...

I am so sorry for your loss. She sounds like a fiesty woman. I love the stories you shared, too.

We are going through something similar with my mother-in-law. It has been so hard on my husband.

You are in my thoughts.

Holy Crappers said...

What a nice post about your Grandmom.

Take care

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about your Grandma, but I think she's smiling over the stories you've shared. I know what a bitch dementia is, because my Dad had the yoke of it for many years.....but still, I also remember the very good, the best, of Dad. ~Mary

TMCPhoto said...

What a great lady. You are lucky to have been able to spend all the time that you did with her. Losing someone you love is so hard but being able to share your memories of that loved one helps to keep their memories alive and keep your focus where it should be, celebrating the life that was led and not on the loss.

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

I am so sorry about your Grandma. I am going to miss stories of her. I so wish my kids knew my grandmother. Another fiesty woman. It sounds like you have a lot of your grandma in you. I hope I have a lot of mine in me too.

country mouse said...

Aw, Amy--so sorry for your loss : (

Agreeing with everyone else, you afforded your kids a wonderful blessing in making such regular visits rather than making excuses not to visit (like most people do.)

I'm Julie said...

I lost both of my grandmas to Alzheimers in the last 3 years. You are right. It just plain SUCKS.

Your children will always be blessed by knowing her so well.

I'm so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.

Emily said...

My deepest condolences to you and your family at this sad time. May her memory be blessed.

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

the mama bird diaries said...

I'm glad you were so lucky. I'm sorry about your loss.

David said...

You are probably right. Mine weren't nearly as fun. I still miss them, though.

Grandma Eve also was taken by Alzheimers. Grandma Florence stayed ornery to the end.

May you be comforted among all the mourners of Zion.

sista #2 said...

I'm sorry :(


First Time Dad said...

A heart felt post, and as always so well written. Our condolences for your loss from all the Bruce family

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

Oh Babe.

She sounds like a wonderful woman.

You were lucky to have each other.

gentle hugs

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