Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy 84th Birthday Grammy!!

This is my Grammy....

Ok.. this isn't my Grammy it is my Grammy & my little brother on my wedding day, but close enough
Today she is turning 84 years old.  In times where it seems like people seem to be dying younger and younger (sorry if that seems a bit morbid, but it also seems to be the truth), it is so important to celebrate the lives of those who are that much older (and wiser) than us.  M and I actually went to my parent's house in NJ this weekend so that we could celebrate with my Grammy another year of her life.  

This year it was really important to me that we go up for her birthday because as some of you know my Grammy was diagnosed a while back with early onset Alzheimer's Disease.  Unfortunately I am no stranger to this disease as when I was in middle school Alzheimer's claimed the life of my Grandpa and my Gram has also been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.  This disease has been a part of my family life ever since I was born... my Grandpa had the disease when my parents got married so I never actually got to know him when he wasn't sick.  Of course I knew him when he was still lucid and knew who I was... but I also watched him deteriorate to the point where he couldn't take care of himself.  

But I digress... this awful disease is why I was so adamant about heading back to NJ to be able to celebrate my Grammy's birthday with her.  I want to be able to spend as much time with her as possible while she still knows who I am... and trust me even now there are times where she is really confused as to who I am.  This weekend was no different.  Although we told her multiple times we were there for her birthday at one point she asked us where my brother was and if we were going to call him to wish him a Merry Christmas.  She also thought that M and I had been married for 4 years at this point and didn't think she was at the wedding.  I ended up spending about an hour going through ALL of my wedding pictures with her... having her point out people she knew... trying to get her to remember the day.  At times it seemed like she remembered and at other times she couldn't remember what we had just talked about five minutes prior. 

Parents, me & M, and of course Grammy!
It is so sad to see my Grammy's memory deteriorating the way that it is.  She was always one of the sharpest people I knew and we used to have the best conversations.  She was a teacher for YEARS and all of her students always seemed to love her.  There are still times where we go out to the grocery store, mall, garden center, wherever... that people come up to her that were her students 30 years ago and they STILL remember her and love her.  Sometimes she can remember them... sometimes she can't.  On the days that she can it always makes me smile a little bit bigger because it reminds me that the Grammy I grew up with is in there somewhere and that the disease hasn't completely taken over her mind and body. 

So Happy Birthday Grammy!! May 84 be one of your best years yet!! I love you!!

As always, today I am thankful for all of the time I have gotten thus far with my Grammy.  Some people aren't lucky enough to have a close relationship with their grandparents, but I was lucky enough to grow up with my Grammy living 10 minutes away.  I was able to spend many a night at her house... went shopping with her... had Sunday dinner over there with her... do all kinds of things with her.  I am so thankful for all of the amazing times that we got to share together and I can't imagine not being able to have made those memories with her.  As I sit here typing this the tears are welling up in my eyes thinking about all of the good times I have had with my Grammy and knowing that her memory is slowly failing her and that one day she won't be able to remember all of those times.  But for now, I am thankful for what she can remember and I am so thankful that I have had the time to become so close to her. 

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