I Want to Live My Life in Context

My 21-year-old son and my parents are on a little road trip right now. Today they're visiting with my aunt. She's suffering from Alzheimer's and today she doesn't know them. She doesn't know her son, who's there, either.

My grandma suffered from Alzheimer's, too. There were times when we'd stop in to visit and she'd have a moment of clarity. She'd remember something about Grandpa or she'd remember something from when I was young. Those times were very rare. Most of the time, she'd ask us who we were.

Several years ago, an elderly man with Alzheimer's went missing. His family was on the news pleading for people to keep their eyes open for him. He sometimes liked to go for a walk and would lose his way and not know where he was. They finally found him, two days later and about fifteen miles from his home. I can only imagine how scary that two days and fifteen miles was.

I want to live my life in context. I want to know my family. I want to recognize the people I know and love. I want to know where my house is and how it fits into the neighborhood, the city, and beyond.

Old age has a twisted sense of humor. Slowing down. Clumsiness. Hair loss or a crazy chin hair that keeps coming back. Forgetfulness. Bad eyesight or hearing. So many things can go wrong. But the cruelest trick of all has to be losing your place in the world.

5 comments:

Missy said...

I haven't thought of Alzheimer's from this perspective before, but I agree with you. My grandpa, his brother, and my great grandpa all had it and it's heartbreaking. Of course, my great grandpa was always happy and didn't know who he didn't know. I think his was harder on everyone else. Maybe that's usually the case. Sad. :(

LL said...

"a crazy chin hair"??!?
Please, try a crazy chin beard, and I'm not even that old! ;-)
I agree, my grandma suffered a little with memory loss. It's so sad, and frustrating for everyone involved.

Anonymous said...

heartbreaking to see my loved ones go through this illness.

Jaima said...

Oh, I know what you mean. My husband's grandma began suffering from rapidly progressing dementia just a few years ago. Now she often doesn't recognize us. It is truly heartbreaking. Just last week I was slicing tomatoes in my kitchen and I had the swiftest, strongest memory of working beside Grandma in her kitchen, slicing farmer's market tomatoes for lunch. As a new wife and a young mother, I learned so much from her about creating a warm home, loving my husband and keeping a house. It is hard seeing the way she is now, when not long ago she was hosting the entire clan for Christmas, but I am so glad that I was able to work beside her when I had the chance.

Taneka Carl said...

Alzheimer’s is very complex condition. It shouldn't be treated lightly as there's no cure to it. So anyone who's suffering from it needs a lifetime dose of constant care and supervision from those who are trained for doing it.

Taneka Carl