Forget-me-not

Growing up I had an average life. Nothing is wrong with average, average is quite wonderful, so I’ve learned. It’s your typical story – I have an older half brother, my parents were divorced when I was 10, my dad and mom are both fairly normal (insert giggle here), and my family is what most families are…diverse but full of love.  I’ve always made a point to be close to those around me. I am inquisitive by nature and while I may like to talk, I also like to know everything about someone. I’m a “birthday queen”, never do I forget a birthday…I might forget my grocery list but I’m not going to forget a birthday.  People actually count on me for this.  I remember many things from my childhood…maybe not all the great and wonderful things, but I have a thousand memories.  I remember camping trips to Riffe Lake and Christmases with my family, I remember my grandmas chocolate pudding, and my mom’s spaghetti.  I remember meeting childhood friends for the first time, but I also remember befriending a homeless man behind our house.  I was a loud and needy child, one who always wanted to be the center of attention…I was the youngest for a very long time and still am the only granddaughter on my mom’s side of the family…therefore, I’m the favorite granddaughter (there is a GREAT granddaughter now, but we won’t dwell on those details).  My mom’s parents are two of the most important people in my life.  My grandma is a retired teacher at the middle school just a hop skip and a jump away from home, and my grandpa was a Sargent for the police force in the town I call home. I used to go to my grandma’s school and hang out in her classroom, or go by the police station and visit my grandpa.  Those were the days, the days that I literally walked everywhere. My friends and I would walk to the pet store and check out the chinchillas and parrots, then walk to the movie store to pick out something to watch and walk home. Maybe we’d ride our bikes or rollerblade, and terrorize the boys in the neighborhood.  Again, it was average, and normal…and I am not ashamed of that.  To paint a picture of my grandparents isn’t easy.  They have huge love and giant hearts, they are the epitome of care and kindness.  They are both brilliant in street and book smarts. They married young, had two daughters young, and conquered the world with grace.  I don’t know everything about my grandparents but I know they are stunning parents, and even better grandparents – all bias aside. My grandma is beyond any sense of the word wonderful and crafty…she can run a sewing machine like no one I’ve ever seen, she can make me laugh, and teach me new things every day, as she is wise as they come.  My grandpa is the greatest man I’ve ever known, hes funny, he’s strong, and he’s my hero. I wanted to be a police officer just like him. Matter of fact, in 3rd grade a wrote on an assignment exactly that…and followed it with “because I want to deliver a baby in an elevator”. I’m not really sure why that was the reason, but it was, at that point anyway.  Lucky for me, he talked me out of it.  Truly, I’m thankful. He retired when I was young, under the age of ten, and I’m thankful for that too. See, my grandpa was a police officer before there were “Police Officer Hate Groups”, before social media. There were still bad guys and girls, there was still violence and law breaking, but now, I would be fearful to have him on the streets fighting crime. The world just isn’t what it used to be. Heck, my grandpa even made it into an Anne Rule book…holy smokes!  Almost everyone who grew up and built their lives in that little town of ours knows my grandparents, and almost all of them say “Your grandpa was one of the very best cops in Tumwater”. It’s the damn truth. He was. He also is an all around amazing man. He is meticulous with kindness and genuine to the core. He’s also very funny, always has been. When I was little I remember him making duck noises like daffy and chasing me around the house, I remember him letting me steal his dentures. Now, why I would want to do that I have absolutely no idea, but I did, and I though it was hilarious. You may wonder about this diatribe about my grandparents, my grandpa specifically. Well, here it is….my grandpa has Alzheimer’s and I am simply heartbroken about it. There aren’t words to describe how I feel, but I’ll try. I’m selfish about it, I’m consumed with worry and heartache. By nature I am worried more about my mom and my grandma more than anything. I’m selfish because I dread him forgetting me, or not knowing my name. I think it will break me into a million pieces. Every time I go to their house I wonder what kind of day he is having.  I wonder if today will be the day I walk in and he won’t know who I am. For God’s sake, I’m his favorite granddaughter…he can’t forget my name.  As I said, selfish. But it comes from a good place. A place so deep in my heart it nearly can’t be touched.  Right now my grandpa doesn’t understand what he’s going through. Even though   He is familiar with it. He knows and will tell you his mother died of Alzheimer’s, so he understands the disease but not that it is happening to him. This part is hard. And maybe I only say that because it’s the hardest part I know, so far. I know it will get worse, I know we cannot heal him, and I know I’m not the first person to experience this…or even the only one feeling this way about the exact same man. What I don’t know, and why I’m writing this, is what’s coming and when and how. Not just how will it progress, but how can I help? How can I help him and my grandma and the rest of the family.  How do I gracefully live through this & help everyone else survive every step on the inevitable journey ahead?

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To be continued…

2 thoughts on “Forget-me-not

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  1. My Grandmother went through this. Even though she couldn’t remember my name she always smiled when I walked into the room.

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