|Grandma Adair in 2010 at her 94th Bday. She's now 96!|
Ron warned me that she doesn't really remember anyone now--sometimes not even him. And she gets very anxious. She is taking a medication every 4 days that settles her down. But on the day of her medication she sleeps all day. Fortunately, it wasn't a medication day.
She was calling for help when I arrived at her room. Her footrest had been put up to stretch her legs and she had a blanket tucked around her. She thought she'd been tied up. She wasn't alarmed, just confused. "Do you know why they would tie me up?" she asked.
"You weren't tied up, Grandma. You have a blanket around your legs and maybe that feels like you can't move."
She didn't know who I was. I tried to explain it to her. "I'm Michael David's oldest daughter."
She asked, "Should I know you?"
"Yes, Grandma. You're my grandma. I love you and you love me."
"Do I?" she asked. "Isn't that strange. I can't remember."
She was frustrated that she couldn't remember and asked every 5 minutes, "Don't you think it's strange that I can't remember?" She also asked frequently, "Am I crazy?"
"No, Grandma. You're not crazy. You're just old and when you're old it gets hard to remember."
Or she would ask, "Have I always been this way?"
"No, Grandma. You have a great memory. You're just getting old."
Then she would say, "I used to be able to remember."
Most of our conversation that day revolved around her asking why she couldn't remember.
I held her hand and I tried to think of things that she might remember.
She asked about my kids. I told her about each one. She would say, "Have I met them?"
"Yes. Do you remember living in San Jacinto or Hemet? Courtney, Marty and I would visit you there. They played in your yard and we would watch them play and visit."
She didn't remember.
Do you remember you lived across from your sister, Ila?
Ila? Was that my sister?
And Oneita lived behind you.
Oh yes. I remember Oneita.
You had lots of brothers and sisters. Remember your brother, Melvin?
Oh yes. My oldest brother. Melvin.
You remember your mother, Kate.
Oh, Mama. We soo loved our Mama.
Yes, you did. You tell us how much you loved her.
Oh, she loved us soooo much. We all loved Mama.
Do you remember Grandpa?
Smith. Your husband.
No. I don't remember who that is. (It was so hard to hold back the tears!)
Smith Adair. Joseph Smith Adair. You remember Grandpa.
No, I don't know who that is.
Well, you met at BYU in college. And he came to visit you and you went for a ride on his motorcycle.
(She smiled) Oh, yes. I remember we went for a ride on the motorcycle.
And you got married.
(She smiled as she nodded her head.)
And you remember you loved to sing songs together.
Yes. You taught some to me. Remember Ol' Solomon Levi?
(Convinced song was the shining path to a break-through moment I began to sing...)
My name is Solomon Levi and I live on Second Street,
That's where we buy our coats and hats and everything else that's neat!
Second-handed ulsterettes and overcoats so fine.
For all the boys that play with me, 149!
(At this point she is smiling at me and nodding her head!)
Ol' Solomon Levi, Tra-la-la-la, la-la
Ol' Solomon Levi, Tra-la-la-la, la, la la la...
She's smiling and I ask, You remember that song, right?
No. I don't remember it.
And there's nothing else to do but laugh. Because if I don't laugh, I'll cry. And it's pretty funny--my enthusiasm and her dead-pan that's so typical of her, "No. I don't."
She was so concerned that I would leave. I told her I would stay with her until lunch. She worried about lunchtime for over an hour. "Is it lunch yet? I think we need to head to lunch."
No, lunch isn't for an hour.
Before lunch I said, I'll run down the hall and see if it's time.
Are you coming back?
I'll be right back.
Will you come back?
Yes, I'm coming back, I'll only be gone a minute. You won't be able to even count to 60 before I'm gone.
And you know what she does?
She says, "10, 20, 30" and starts to laugh at her own joke.
These were the sweet treasures of our real Grandma that found their way through all her worry about not remembering, worrying about getting to lunch on time. Worrying that she was crazy.
Ron stopped by for a few minutes. When she worried to him she said, "Have I always been like this? Have I always had a hard time remembering?"
He said, "No, but you've always been a worrier, mom. You fret and worry."
"You FRET and WORRY." (We had to talk loud because she couldn't hear.)
"I SIT and WORRY?"
"Yes, Mom. You sit and worry."
Often she said, "I'm so scared."
I said, What are you scared of?"
That I can't remember. Do you think they are giving me something that makes it so I can't remember?
No, I think you're old and it's hard to remember when you're old.
I'm so scared.
You're scared because you're forgetting.
You're forgetting and it makes you scared.
YOU DON'T LIKE FORGETTING!
No, I never cared for Spaghetti!
30 minutes before lunch Grandma started getting tired. My Mother-sense told me so. She got extra confused and anxious and I said, "You're tired. Would you like to take a little snooze before lunch?"
(She always said "snooze" so I thought I was pretty smart using a key-word she would understand.)
Do you want to snooze?
A Snooze?! Are you tired? Do you want to snooze?
I don't know what that is. (Dang it!!)
You need a rest, Grandma. I'll sit with you and let's close our eyes.
I held her soft hand and we closed our eyes. She was just like a toddler because every 2 minutes she'd open her eyes and say, "Should we head to lunch?" or "What time is it?" or "Is it time to go?"
No, Grandma. We've still got 30 minutes. We're going to keep resting.
And she'd close her eyes and try to rest some more.
(Although, unlike a toddler she wouldn't try to get up and go somewhere -- yay!)
She kept asking me where my kids were.
"They are all in school."
Those little bitty ones are in school?!
(My cousin Joy visits frequently and has younger kids.) You're thinking of Joy's kids, Grandma. Mine are old enough to all be in school.
It was heartening that she remembered Joy's visits.
At lunch I helped her into her wheelchair and took her down to the dining room. I fed her and helped her drink. She could still hold the cup by herself, but just needed help making sure her mouth found the straw or edge of the cup.
When it was time to go, her helper came to assist her for the rest of the meal. She used to complain when it was time for us to go. And ask why we couldn't stay a little longer. Now she just said goodbye.