Some time ago, I created a short post about my Gran – I’ve been up to see her a few times this year and it’s heartbreaking. The dementia has really got a hold. Her epilepsy is under control, though recently it’s been a roller-coaster of seizures and medication changes to control it properly. And, she’s in pain. A lot.
Despite these things, her eyes light up when she sees me and while my time with her is limited, she’s very responsive to memories, photos and discussions when I’m there.
For me, there’s a marked difference every time I see her. This time, we (mum and I) took her to a family Christening – and to our shock she didn’t even recognise her two sons. She got their names wrong. She’s struggling with many members of the family because she doesn’t see them enough to be able to maintain that path of memory.
Dementia is a terrible terrible thing.
I chose not to think of my Gran as she is today – small, frail and confused. I will remember her as the strong matriarch of the family. She was a strong woman – larger than life (so was my Grandad) – loved to eat, loved to cook, loved to care for others, had to be the first to bathe every new born baby, knitted ‘bonnets’ for everyone, instilled in everyone of us a sense of pride in who we were and she was fun. There was always a sparkle in her eyes. A little bit of mischief. And sometimes, a whole lot of mischief!
As a young child, I remember Gran being part of our lives on a regular basis. She and Granddad. I miss being able to play cribbage with her, or Scrabble – played to her and Granddad’s own set of rules – and I miss her energy.