Monday, September 20, 2010

Grandma Oyer

At the beginning of this month I had the pleasure of going home to Ohio to spend a week with my Grandmother. My parents were going out of town on vacation and needed someone to care for my grandmother. My grandma suffers from severe dementia. She has been living with my parents for the past 6 months or so since she hasn't been able to care for herself.

For the past couple of years my grandmother has started forgetting more and more of her past. On the rare occasions that she does remember my name she forgets the details of my life. For example, she tends to ask where my husband is (I tend to tell her I have NO idea where he is but if she finds him to let me know!). However, there are random moments during one of her "good days" when she'll make a certain face or say something that is very much like her old self. It is in those moments that I glimpse the grandma I knew from my childhood.

During my week with my grandma there were moments when she would reach out to hold my hand or pat my face. I'm not convinced she knew my name but I believe she found my face to be familiar and that she meant those touches to be full of tenderness and love. I believe that with those touches she was trying to portray the words that her brain/tongue no longer allow her to express. I will cherish those moments forever.

My only regret is that I didn't take the time to really get to know my grandmother before she got sick. She lived out of the state for most of my childhood and by the time she moved back I was older and busy with my own teenage life. My grandmother (and grandfather) spent several years as a missionary in Honduras. By the time that I moved to Honduras my grandmothers mind was too far gone for her to be able to recall and retell the stories from her time there. I will never get a chance to hear her stories. All I have is a couple of photo albums that she put together with minimal subtitles and headings.

So yes those 7 days at home with my Grandmother were precious to me....I just regret that they didn't happen sooner. Remember to take time with those you love and savor the me time you have with them.

1 comment:

Leah said...

Reminds me of my time living with my grandparents before they passed away-- incredibly precious months/years. I'm glad you got to spend a week with her.