My grandma is dying. That sentence makes me both sad and relieved. Relieved? Many of you will stop reading right now thinking I am a bad person but let me explain.
I got an email from my mom saying that my Grandma has stopped being able to eat. She is choking and aspirating on her food and my mom and her sister have made the decision to not allow any extreme measures to extend her life. She is 91 years old and has senile dementia.
My real grandma, however, has been gone for years. She has slipped away into the unknown recesses of her mind as this disease has eaten away at her. The lady who was fastidious in her appearance (dress, hose, heels, lipstick, hair done) is now disheveled in weather inappropriate clothes. The lady who could make a meal for 10 that left you wishing you could somehow cram another bite in can't manage to feed herself thickened ensure and the memory of her fried chicken is just that, a mouthwatering memory. The lady who made and beautifully decorated all my childhood birthday cakes didn't know who her last birthday cake was for, she didn't know her age or that it was her birthday.
It makes me mad, this horrible disease that steals the essence of the person while leaving their body to whither and their family to mourn. It frustrates me that my mother has had to continue to care for someone who doesn't remember holding her as a baby anymore and is becoming more like a baby herself. With this disease you can't just mourn your loss and move on. You have to be reminded of it over and over and over for years. It creates new slaps in the face until you finally have to plan a funeral and mourn some more. Its just not fair.
I miss my Grandma. The one who had a garage sale with my mom every summer. The one who made coffee cakes for Christmas and Easter (and would specially make one without raisins for my sister and I). I miss the smell of her hairspray and perfume. Her house dresses. The Christmases at her house with the big old village under the tree and the Santa holding the coke bottle. The cakes and cookies made from scratch. Playing scrabble with her and my mom on the lazy susan scrabble board. The way she always asked if you would "enjoy an RC" rather than "do you want a pop?"...and she always had RC and 7UP.
But all those memories are safe in my heart. I pray that the Lord will take Dolores peacefully as she sleeps. That she might finally be free to remember what I do and so much more. That she may join my Grandpa in Heaven and watch down and see my boys, her great grand babies, grow up in a way she can't right now. I hope that this long journey ends for her and for my mother and that they both get the rest and happiness they deserve.