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Thursday, August 13, 2009

A good cry

Well, Sunday was almost done, and I was tapping away on my computer keyboard before I retired for the night. Aaron likes to play “watch dog” as I’m reading e-mails and blogging. He hovers around past his bedtime acting concerned for my health (go to bed, Mom!), but I know he’s usually just stalling for time. Tonight was a little different though. He was reminiscing about past birthday gatherings and who all had come. The three-way celebration at Lorenzo & Lani’s (for PaPa, Aaron & Trey) was nice, but it was a small affair compared to past gatherings at our home where Mike’s family attended as well. The conversation finally got around to where I had a feeling it was going: Grandmother (Mike’s mother, Jessie, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease). We haven’t been to see her since the home where she now resides moved a few weeks ago. Aaron and Alisa thought Grandmother hung the moon when they were younger. This is because until they came along, Grandmother’s youngest grandchild was about to graduate high school. I think Jessie was overjoyed to have babies around again. I think she especially enjoyed getting to be grandmother and not a parent figure. She did so much for Aaron & Alisa, including watching them for me on Saturdays so I could have a day to run errands or take a nap or whatever. She fulfilled the stereotypical “Grandma” role: she’d fix them whatever they asked for or let them decide where they wanted to go out to eat. She would “overpay” them for the simplest of tasks. Birthdays meant a huge gift bag from the dollar store filled with clothes, socks, underwear, etc. Aaron was missing all of that, and before long he grew quiet and the tears began to drip silently from his eyes. I could tell it was more than the toys and clothes that he was missing. It was Grandmother herself. At first we laughed and joked a little when we were sitting in the front room visiting with Jessie and she made a comment about Mike as if he weren’t sitting right there with us in the room. I think now, though, the realization has settled in that Grandmother whom we know and love comes and goes; she remembers and doesn’t remember. We’ve spoken very frankly with the kids about how Alzheimer’s disease progresses, and somehow the day before his 13th birthday I think the understanding “clicked” for Aaron.

I understood how Aaron felt. My heart was breaking for him. I told him of my first significant loss when I was around his same age. My dad's sister, Aunt Demples, who was an alcoholic was wasting away in a hospital in Lawton, Oklahoma. We went to visit, and I remembered thinking she looked older than my great grandmother! Her face was drawn and her belly was bloated. I prayed and I prayed for her to make it through. I guess in the mind of a 14-year-old people really can change. I just knew Aunt Demples would change her ways and stop drinking if she got a second chance. A couple of weeks later we received word that she was doing better; then, the next thing I knew we got the dreaded call that she had died. I was confused and hurt and angry because I didn't understand then how someone could be getting better and then die! I now understand that that is often exactly what happens. I believe God lets us see our loved ones improving so the last impression we have of them is more positive than negative. Then, too, I tend to believe that the reason sick people begin to get better is that they know their suffering is coming to an end. Aaron and I cried together and shared a box of tissues: me and my teenager of a son, no longer a little boy, but not quite a man...

1 comment:

  1. SAD, E! SERIOUSLY, if i wasnt at work, i would be crying right now. i have a huge lump in my throat, trying to hold it back! sad, but sweet also. thanks for sharing :)