Grandma | Teen Ink

Grandma

December 8, 2015
By YourFuturePresident PLATINUM, Seattle, Washington
YourFuturePresident PLATINUM, Seattle, Washington
28 articles 3 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it." - Hillary Clinton


Alzheimers. The name fits the disease perfectly. Painfully long, easy to mispronounce, and flat-out ugly.

 

Alzheimer's is why my family had to helplessly watch as my active, on top of things, go-getter grandma faded away before our eyes. All of a sudden, there was no more poppyseed cakes or fancy outings to high end restaurants and the Nutcracker. Just a shadow of a person who looked like grandma, and sounded like grandma, and dressed like grandma- but wasn’t grandma.That disheveled, senile old woman couldn’t be her.
     

Then the bleeding happened.
     

Sometimes it feels like grandma never existed. Like it was always just grandpa and uncle in that tiny rabbit-hole of an apartment, with carpet stains that are only made worse every time they’re washed.
     

Now my 51-year-old uncle looks at me with the eyes of a helpless kid. Which in a way, he is. Not enough oxygen to his brain as a baby. Never went to college, never had a bar mitzvah like my dad, never moved out of the house...Grandma defended him like a mama bear. And now she’s gone. It scares me how it feels like she’s been gone forever. It scares me how uncle looks to me for help and reassurance. It makes me angry. Angry that he’s turning to me -  the self absorbed teenage niece who’s decades younger than him. But more than anything, angry that I have nothing to say.
       

I can’t help but think how much better things would be if grandma was here. The couches wouldn’t be so dirty because grandma would nag grandpa not to be so sloppy. The house wouldn’t smell so bad, the lights would be turned on, the kitchen would be alive with the smell of cakes, pies, and cobblers being baked, and there’d be sounds other than the TV in the apartment.We’d go out to plays and restaurants and vacations because grandma always insisted we live life to the fullest.
       

I only cried once for grandma, and that was the day that she died. Maybe it’s because crying seems too petty. Maybe it’s because I kept myself busy doing other things. Maybe it’s because I feel too numb for tears. Still in shock at how that sixth, prominent,wise voice at the table with snow white hair is gone.
     

I turn to my mother, who’s snipping away at the part of the newspaper that has all the coupons, and hug her. She embraces me and I bury my nose deeper into that sweet bouncy hair that looks like it came right out of a commercial, if it weren’t for the streaks of grey. The hair that means home and cuddling on the couch watching Saturday Night Live. I tear up a little-- some for grandma, but mostly because I’m scared. Scared of another empty seat at the table.


The author's comments:

This is a memoir about losing my grandma to Alzheimer's. The disease, to put it gently, is deteriorating and devastating. And it’s not just the victims who suffer. Alzheimer's takes a huge, heavy toll on their loved ones.


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on Nov. 9 2020 at 11:33 am
RioApril14 BRONZE, Seattle, Washington
3 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story within you." - Dr. Maya Angelou

This story really resonates with me--one of my grandmas is also fading from Alzheimers and dementia. I wasn't close with her at all, but I'm sure it's really hard for my dad, and I worry that he, or even me one day, could disappear one day in the same way.