Never Forgetting

September 22, 2008
By Anonymous

Many memories stick out in my mind, when I think back about my childhood, like elementary school, being outdoors, playing in the neighborhood, and most importantly, my family. Both of my grandparents passed away shortly after I was born, so I never really got the chance to get to know them, but I did get to spend a lot of time with my great grandmother. I remember a lot about her, she influenced me in many ways, and she taught me many things, some of which I would not realize until later in life, and she definitely helped me get to know the grandparents I never got to meet.
When I was very young, only two or three years old, my mother would take me over to my great grandmother’s apartment to spend the day, playing, eating home made treats, and reading stories to her. I loved going over to her apartment, and was devastated when one day, my mother told me we could no longer go over there because my grandmother no longer lived there, she was now in the hospital. At the time, my great grandmother had a severe stroke, and I could not really understand this, except for that she was “sick”. Everything from then on was very, very different.
My great grandmother had to be moved to a home where she could have around the clock nursing care, to keep her healthy. She could barely eat, let alone speak or recognize me. It really scared me how sick she was, when she had been perfectly healthy at her apartment just a few days before. But nothing could stop my mother or me from visiting her frequently, like we always had. She would have “good” days, and “bad” days. On the good days she would recognize us, and on the bad days she would not. She became able to speak again, after time, but her memory was ever failing.
Every time I visited, I would not let her condition scare me away. I read stories to her, and played just like the old times because I knew on the inside, that she still loved me just as much as before she had the stroke and became sick. This lasted for about two years, until I was five, then she developed Alzheimer’s disease, and lost her desire to live. She was ninety two years old at this time, and kind of gave up in a way, but my mother and I did not.
During a routine hospital visit, towards the end of her life, the nurses told my mother and me that my great grandmother was refusing to eat. She would not eat for anything, no matter what anyone said to her. So, then I went down to the kitchen area, and made her a sandwich myself. Being five years old, I had no idea why she would not want to eat, so I thought maybe a homemade sandwich would make her feel better. I brought it up to her room, and said, “Here Grandma, I made this for you, you should try it, it’s a peanut butter and jelly!” Then somehow, someway, my grandmother remembered who I was, and she ate the sandwich. She did it because of me, and how much she loved me. I did not realize this at the time, but my parents explained it to me later. That was the last memory of my great grandmother that I had. Her health was getting worse by the day, and she passed away shortly there after.
The whole experience of helping my grandmother while she was sick, impacted me in many ways. I learned how to care for people at a young age, and that no matter what, I will always be loved. I am very happy that in her last days I was able to help her eat, even though I was probably unaware of what I was doing. I think it affected her as well. I’m glad she remembered who I was, her great granddaughter, and that she did not pass away with a bad memory. I never realized until recently how significant this whole time was in my life, but I am so thankful I helped her out after all of the days she helped me learn how to read, how to bake cookies, and tie my shoes. I will always remember her, and hope she always remembers me.

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