Aug. 25th, 2014 at 11:49 AM
I'm sitting here, drinking a mug of hot Tea. Republic of Tea Vanilla Almond to be exact. With Virginia honey.
I have a cold, so already feel like crap. But all I can think about, staring out at the sparrows on the fence and the bird feeders, is the Sister In Law's comment that this Tea and a few others were from her mom (the Mother In Law) and that she didn't want them anymore, if I wanted any, have them.
It reminded me so strongly of when my mom told me about how Grandpa suddenly didn't want to put a garden in. And it made me so damned sad.
You see, every spring, like clockwork, for as long as I could remember, he had *always* had a garden. And growing up, I remember picking green beans from the back yard garden, munching on them as we went down the row. I remember digging potatoes in the side garden with my parents and grandparents, cousins. Between them and my dad, I think that's where I got my love of gardening.
But suddenly, there was no garden. Mom remarked that they had thought it was strange, but didn't say anything about it at the time. In hindsight, they wished they had. They would have gotten the Alzheimer's diagnosis that much earlier. They would have had that much more time to prepare for what was coming.
And now, I sit here, drinking my hot Tea, remembering my grandfather and thinking about my Mother In Law and it just makes me so damned sad.
Alzheimer's robs a family of so, so much. You will remember what things mean, that you used to do these things, but the person afflicted- they will not. That memory is simply gone as if it never existed. Eventually, they won't even remember you. Sure, they'll know you as someone who comes around often, who looks familier, but as to why they should know you, that they will not remember. It will simply be gone. Eventually, even the memory of you being a familiar face will also be gone. In my grandfather's case, he regressed to the point where he thought he was a child again and had to get ready for school some mornings. Before that point, he was trying to go to work- he'd been retired for a good 30-40 years or so.
The mother in law doesn't drive anymore. It's not because she can't, its more because they don't want to risk her suddenly forgetting where she was going, as she was going down the road. It's more of a concern for her than anything.
My mom told me about a time, after the bad storm that went through there and took out a significant number of trees on my grandparents' property- trees they'd planted when they bought the place-
my grandfather had taken the car to go to the neighbor's to check on them. He got there and back safely, but they found him sitting in the car- he couldn't remember how to put the windows up. They started hiding the keys after that, I believe.
So it did not surprise me that the mother in law didn't want these Teas anymore- she likely couldn't remember why she had them.
This is what Alzheimer's does.