Today I am linking up with my very dear friend Shell at Things I Can't Say.
Hop on over and check out her Pour Your Heart Out feature!
Maybe you may have a tale of your own to link!
I sat here staring at my reader.
"1000+ Unread" screamed at me from the upper left hand corner.
I have been away, without internet for a week. The bathrooms of my grandma's home were in serious need of some TLC. The rest of the house needed
You would think a week away in a warmer climate with no children would be relaxing. Revitalizing. Renewing. In an ideal situation, it would be.
I began each day driving to the nearest Starbucks so I would be able to complete my school work for the day. Rememer? I went back to college in January? The first two hours of my day were automatically consumed by reading and class discussion. Granted, I could have waited until later in the day to complete the work, but I knew that if I put it off, there was a good chance I wouldn't get it done.
Each day, after completing my school work, my schedule varied a bit. Some days I had lunch with my mother. Some were spent tearing down wallpaper, repapering, painting, or cleaning. Many days found me at the local Goodwill dropping of items my grandma would no longer need. Most days I visited my grandma.
One thing I have always enjoyed about my grandparents was their amazing senses of humor. In my life time, I have spent countless hours laughing with each of my grandparents.
Years ago, my grandma was nicknamed Nutty Monkey. We always joked that "Lou! Lou! Lou!" was her animal call. Lou was my grandpa.
She enjoyed riding her bike in the summer. She had a stationary bike in the basement for the days that were too cold to ride outside. She was afraid of the water and of flying. She had difficulty going to the store alone - because she never remembered where she parked the car. My grandma was an avid painter of landscapes. The paintings were always lovingly framed by my grandpa and hung around their home.
She and my grandpa had a huge backyard with tons of trees. There were dozens of birds and squirrels that lived in their yard. Each of the squirrels were named after one of the 10 grandkids.
Today, my grandma doesn't remember she has 10 grandkids. She barely remembers her kids. Bike riding is out of the question. She has difficulty even walking. She no longer paints. She can't even color in a coloring book. Today, Grandma doesn't even feed herself.
Since October, I, my brother, and my aunt have taken over paying for my grandma's home. In January, my aunt, my cousin, and I drove to Florida to go through Grandma's things and bring home what we thought would be best divided among the grandkids. Last week, I cleaned out what reamined of her belongings.
Through it all, I have held it together. I comforted my aunt when she cried. I fed my grandma because she couldn't. I read her favorite Bible passages to her. I brought her candy. I held her hand.
On Sunday, hours before heading to the airport, I stopped by the Goodwill to browse for some extra sheets for the beds at the house. While walking through the Goodwill, something caught my eye.
There it was. Not obvious, mixed in with all of the other coffee cups. It drew my eyes like a moth to a flame. It was a coffee mug that we had given Grandma years ago. Custom made by my brother. It had all of my grandma's wacky sayings on it, along with various other inside jokes.
My heart started racing. I forced back the tears from my eyes.
I walked promptly to the register and paid for my sheets.
Calmly, I walked outside to my rental car.
I opened the door.
I sat down.
I've never really had the chance to say good-bye to my grandma. Yes, in body, she is still here. But she's not here. She doesn't laugh. She doesn't smile. Her eyes are empty of any recognition.
Alzheimer's Disease is a terrible and ugly illness.
It has stripped my grandma of everything that made her who she is and has left a shell of a woman literally going through the motions of life.
Seeing her coffee cup on the shelf at the Goodwill really made me realize that she isn't coming back. Her life has been reduced to the memories of her children and grandchildren.
I miss the sound of her laugh. I miss the sound of her voice.
I miss her.
But even though she doesn't know I am there, I will continue to visit her. I will continue to read to her. I will continue to feed her. Because I know I'm there and I know that I will never get these moments back.