Family Caregivers, Gram Helen's Story

Getting Ready for the Move

Today I’m in mourning.


The Gram that I have known and loved all of my life is changing.  She’s not gone…but dementia is slowly robbing her of who she is.  We’ve reached the point where she can’t live safely with us, and we’ve found a place for her to move.  She will be safe there.  She will hopefully be loved and happy there (at least that is my prayer every night).  But she won’t be with me and my family.  She won’t be with her beloved daughter Barb.  She’ll be with people who are now strangers to us.  They will soon become friends…I know that in my brain.  But today my heart hurts.


Tomorrow Mom and I will sort through her house and belongings and choose just the right clothes and furniture and trinkets to make her new home a cozy place to be.  We will go shopping for the extras that she’ll need.  We’ll plan and we’ll imagine for her what will make her happy (because she really can’t tell us anymore).  Maybe we’ll even share a few smiles and laughs as we get things ready. But today I’m crying.


The past couple of nights have been harder than most.  Just when I want to create happy memories, this cruel disease has had a hold on my fun Gram, and she’s been extra mean.  She’s walked out of the house in search of her “home”.  She has looked me in the eye and actually said “I hate you, Marcie”.  Now my sister reminds me that it’s the disease talking.  The Gram we have always known and loved does NOT hate me.  If she could know how we’ve shared our home and cared for her this past 2 years she would be so grateful.  But she can’t know.  She’s not living in the today we know.  She’s living in another space and time, and she gets frustrated when she’s not in charge.  I know all of this in my head.  But my heart aches.


Someday when the time comes to say a final goodbye to my Gram, I will be the lucky grandchild.  I will be the one that got to share two years of special times with her.  I have been the one that got to see her delight in playing with her great-great-grandson every day.  I have been the one that gets to tuck her in and kiss her goodnight.  I thought I’d be able to do that for her until the end.  But this horrible disease is robbing me of that.


Tomorrow I will do everything possible to make this move go smoothly for her and for my mom.  Today I cry.