I’m not going to lie and tell you that I know a lot on the subject of Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia. Because I don’t. I do know that my Great Grandpa Lake had Alzheimers and my Grandma Smith has Dementia.
I didn’t see my Great Grandpa a lot. He lived in Pocatello, Idaho. So him having Alzheimers didn’t really affect me that much. My only memory that I remember of it affecting me was when we went up to visit and my Great Grandpa came out to greet us and when he got to my brother he said “Who the hell are you?”. Not being rude he just didn’t remember him. I can’t even remember how old we each were. But it stuck with me.
My husband’s Grandpa had Alzheimers too, but I only met him days prior to him passing. So again it didn’t really affect me.
Not now my Grandma Smith was only diagnosed with Dementia in 2016. Just months prior to my Grandpa Smith passing. This one hits close to home because I grew up just down the hill from my Grandpa and Grandma Smith. And now that I live close again I see my Grandma on a regular basis.
When she first got the diagnosis there wasn’t a lot of change. She has always been forgetful. So that was nothing new. Now fast forward to now in 2018, I barely recognize my Grandma. Physically she looks like my Grandma. But she’s now in a wheelchair, and she doesn’t remember a lot. She used to be such a great pianist and now has a hard time playing the piano. She forgets my daughters names, and doesn’t talk as much as she used to. Sometimes when she is talking she gets frustrated and just stops. I know that it’s hard on us, but I can’t even imagine how hard it is on her not being able to remember something or do something she once did.
Before she was diagnosed, I always thought that the grieving process started after you lost someone. Like when I lost my Grandpa Smith. I went through all the grieving stages…and continue to do so. But that’s for another post.
Now that my Grandma has been diagnosed and has been losing more and more of her memory. I know that you can grieve someone who is still alive. Grieving the person that they used to be. It’s strange to say but if you’ve been in a similar situation you understand.