December 5, 2009

So Memories Never Fade

After we left the museum on Thursday, my mom and I and the girls met my aunt Susan at the nursing home where my Grandmother (who has had Alzheimer's for quiet a few years) lives.

Every visit with her is an emotional roller coaster. There she is, sitting in front of you, and you look at her, knowing she is never going to know who you are again, never going to tell you another story of her childhood, never going to cook you another delicious fried chicken meal.

My Grandmother rarely speaks these days, and when she does, it isn't usually a coherent sentence, but that day she said a few things that brought a smile to my face. You really have to take what you can get, so when she scolded Summer for climbing on her bed with her shoes on, by pointing and looking a bit upset, it was wonderful.

She has these little rubber ducks in her bathroom, and Summer and Camryn had found them and were playing with them. They carried them over near where we were all sitting, and Grandmother looked at them, smiled, and said, "You both have some!" in her sweet, Carolina accent.

For a brief second, I had my Grandmother sitting in front of me.

And then she was gone again, staring distantly around the room.

My aunt got her to dance a bit to some Christmas music we had playing. It was a beautiful scene, with her up and moving, swaying to the music and humming along. I recorded the moment, so we would have it forever. Watch it below.

She was holding on to her wrist because she indicated that she thought Susan's hands were cold.

Cherish your loved ones, and every moment you spent together.


Crazy Mommy Katy said...

My Grandfather had Alzheimer’s for a really long time until he passed, last December. It was really hard because towards the end he wouldn't recognize me or anyone else for that matter, and I think he thought we were all different People. I just want to let you know that I have an understanding of this and that its hard. But one day you will be together again, and everything will be remembered.

-stephanie- said...

what a sad and horrible disease, but what a great memory you have on film. So sweet. It brought tears to my eyes.

Susie said...

That is so sweet and sad. You are right to cherish every memory that you get from you loved ones because you never know when they will be gone.

Éimí said...

That brings tears to my eyes...happy tears that you were able to capture such a precious moment...and sad tears, cause my Gramma's the same way...*hugs*

Kaileigh said...

Thank you for sharing this Steph... my great-grandfather has Alzheimers when I was a child too...sadly, I never really knew the "real him", and he never knew who I was.

Cherish your memories, both past and present!!!

amanda said...

i'll be honest and say i'm not sure i'll watch the video. i'm crying already not watching it. my grandma died six years ago and had dementia for about three years before that. it is the hardest thing in the world to be there and see them like that. yet i knew that every time i visited my grandma she 'knew' who i was, just couldn't put it into words. i saw the glimmer in her eyes. treasure those moments you have with her. i was in college when my grandma ended up in the nursing home and i came home every weekend to see shaun...and her. christmas is hard without her. but i'm so glad that even though your grandma isn't 'there' she's still here to spend time with!! enjoy and treasure it, because you're so right memories do not fade!!

A Middle Aged Mom said...

I watched my great grandmother slip away also and it was so hard. Her body was there but she mentally was no longer there.

Stop changing your blog around! You keep making me want to change my blog around! LOL

Anonymous said...

This was such a beautiful post. You are such a truly appreciative person and I love that about you. This post was so good to read and I'm so happy you got to record that moment to keep forever and show the girls. I spend a lot of time thinking about my grandpa who died earlier this year and wishing I had more to remember him by especially towards the end of his life. Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

--Mia J

Richard said...

... i havn't seen grandmother in a while! I STILL havn't been to the new nursing home. I'm going next weekend though.

i'm suprised Mom let you record her on video. it's a miracle. lol

nice post about grandmother. i enjoyed it.

(btw, your banner in your signature has stopped working for the last few posts.)

Holly said...

It's hard to see them lose their memories and recognition of you. I'm glad you were able to have a few moments when it seemed like she was there.

Bernadette said...

That was such a good idea to save those moments on film...and what a great moment to capture.

I'm sooo glad you are close and get to spend time with your grandmother, and that the girls get to visit with is such an important part of our lives. ..and after spending a bit of time at my friends grammy's nursing home, I know just how much it means to them when family (especially the little ones) comes to visit.

I remember being young and going to see my great-grandmothers...they had no idea who I was, one even called me a boy, but I'm so glad to know their faces and feel that connection when I see photos.

...I need to call and check in with how my grandma is doing now :)

Terri said...


So glad you were able to catch these precious moments on video ...she looks so sweet! Love the pic as well!

Thanks so much for sharing...great post!


Tiffany Lockette said...

What a sweet post and what a sweet memory. Cherish it. My grandmother died from dementia. Her last few months was so sad, she was no longer the grandmother I remembered and I sort of wish I wouldn't have seen her those last few months and my last memory of her would be a good one you know. It was very sad but I loved her so much and couldn't bare not getting to say goodbye. Cherish the time you have with your grandmother. What a great post.

Bridgett said...

For some reason, I can't view the videos right now...but the picture alone made my eyes moist.

Beautiful, beautiful post, Steph.

Tiffany said...


Ruthe said...

Oh so beautiful! That video is a true gift. Thank you for leaving your comment on my blog, I feel less alone in the world of Alzheimer's.

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