Some say wisdom comes with age. That wrinkles show the difficulties in a persons’ life which made them stronger. But what if wisdom disappears by growing older, only wrinkles remain without the power they promised to leave behind? Dementia is hard, not only to those who suffer from it, but certainly to the people who live around them.
I often wonder if she knows the disease struck her, if she knows she’s forgetting everything what happens around her. Though I like the way she always avoids questions she can’t answer by those detours of her, it’s still hard to see her slipping out of the world more and more, day by day. You can ask yourself if they are unlucky because they know they will forget everything in time, but on the other hand.. do they even know that? In the beginning they only forget those small things which makes it hard to tell that they’re having a disease rather than a little forgetfulness due to their age. In the next stage the clock stops ticking. They clearly know everything until a certain point and then everything is deleted out of their memory a few minutes after you said so. It are those things that make living together with them harsh, as they’re living in the past rather than in the present where you need them to be. Finally they forget everything, who they are, who they were, what they are and who you are.. I’d have the feeling like I was the only living soul on the planet, and that feels like one of my biggest fears. I fear for the stage which is coming soon, not for myself but for her.. it must be the most lonely existence possible.
Maybe the biggest pain is among us, the people who love them and who are always hoping they will still remember us the next time we’ll visit. Every day that comes by, a little piece of her disappears and we’re the ones who have to cope with that. I strongly encourage myself to act like she’s still the same person. Trying to remind myself that the person who I always admired for her style and her pride is not the same person that lies there sprawled in her seat. The biggest difficulty is to supress our anger, towards them. You’ll say “how could you be mad at a person who can’t do anything to improve their situation?”. I often think “common pull yourself together” and “deep inside you know, you just don’t try hard enough”. But that’s the problem: they don’t.. I’m disgusted by myself for having that feelings sometimes, for she’s such a helpless creature.
What is best: disappearing and being remembered as that person you were you’re whole life, or disappearing after a long agony in which you turn from that amazing person in a shrivelled heap of human and being remembered as the latter? I’d choose the former..
This does not mean I want to loose her anytime soon, I delete those thoughts before they can even enter my mind. I enjoy carrying for her and although she does not said it out loud anymore I feel that deep down inside she feels a warm joy, a happiness of me just being there and doing the best I can to love and cherish her. For now.
Too my dearest Grandma, who I’ll always remember like the strong women she was.