Nan 1 – Alzheimer’s 0
Things seem to have deteriorated a lot since her diagnosis a few months ago to the point where she is accepting a lot more help (thankfully) but she is also fast becoming a shell of the nan I used to know and adore.
Some days she struggles to even form a sentence and the hardest part is when she looks at me and her eyes look glazed and empty. It hurts to write these words as I feel like my nan is slipping away from me and there’s nothing I can do to help her come back.
She no longer recognises herself in the mirror and at times I can see how frustrated she must be feeling as she cannot do some of the things she has always loved such as read novels and knit. I treasure the knitted jumpers and mittens she made for Chunk before he was born, as sadly these will be the last things she will ever have made for me.
There’s been some really difficult times recently which have exacerbated my awareness of how much I of my nan I have already lost. Things have been pretty awful with my mother’s health, my own health and my sister no longer wants me in her life.
At times like this I’ve always turned to my nan as a strong shoulder to lean on and I’ve always valued her advice and wisdom. So during this last couple of weeks when I’ve automatically reached for the phone I’ve had to stop myself and I’ve realised I have to deal with this on my own, and it bloody sucks.
My mum is too unwell to deal with me dumping my fears and sadness onto her so I literally have no one. But when I start to feel low and sorry for myself I kick myself back into shape by reminding myself that nan is feeling the loneliest and most isolated she has ever felt with this cruel, cruel disease.
She has nobody to turn to because she cannot even get the words out to ask for help or describe how it feels. She has lost her three-dimensional sight so finds it hard to walk around the house and even pick up a drink.
I’ve lost the rock who listened to me day in, day out for months on end each time I had a bout of unipolar depression which has been on and off since I was 15 years old. I’ve lost the lady who would be able to tell me how to revive the flowers I killed or how to help my little boy when he would have various ailments.
I’ve lost my nan who would buy me a magazine and chocolate every weekend as a child, and who continued to even when I was 25 years old.
I’ve lost my nanny, my one and only nanny and it hurts so much.
So yesterday was a beautiful blessing where I got to have a treasured hour of my nan back, who told me what the weather was like, who conversed with me about the family and who played with Chunk.
I looked into her eyes and it was my nan and I want to treasure that small moment of time forever.
Don’t ever take your grandparents for granted. Even at 31 years old I still want and need my nan and I always will.