~ Stop by Carry Us Off Books and download this new children's picture book as a gift for sharing in spirit of brightness! Also, you can dock at a few more sunny ports today on this cheery ride of inspirational stories. ~
|John Haight, 2nd in on rt.|
|John & Marion Haight|
It was hard when Pop developed dementia. He was always such a steadfast figure in my family. But, as he aged and his mind began to deteriorate, he had to move into a home for his own safety. He couldn't remember who he was anymore. Most of the time, he believed that my grandmother was alive and that he was still the chief of police. Once in a while, he would come back to himself- that was the hardest time.
As his dementia progressed, he eventually forgot who his family was. Everyone, except for my dad, was a stranger to him. As sad as this made me, I decided that I could turn it around in a way that we could both be happy. One thing that he always complained about was the food at the home, and he was still capable of eating anything that he wanted. I knew that he loved fried clam bellies from a place called Cooks. So, every time that I went to visit him, I brought a huge plate of clam bellies and some fresh coleslaw with me. He may not have known that I was his granddaughter, but he sure was happy to see me when I came to visit! I loved watching his eyes light up and seeing the enjoyment on his face as he smacked down those greasy, delicious fried clams. It was a special feeling to have the power, though small and in the form of clams, to bring joy into his life, even if only for a few moments in time.
Stephanie: The last time I saw my Grandma Elaine we had some wonderful conversations. Some of our conversations were repeated over and over again over the course of my visit, because she would forget that we had already discussed them. I told her about my plane ride over twenty times, but I knew she was hearing it each time for the first time, so I tried to put the same detail and interest into my answers.
Although I was in my late twenties and already working as a teacher, I could tell from the questions my grandma asked me that she wasn’t quite sure how old I was. Still, I felt lucky that she knew who I was. Seeing my grandma struggling to remember what was happening “now” and doing her best to hold conversations still tugs at my heart when I look back at our last visit.
I do remember her warm smile, quiet way, and the love I felt from her during the time when her brain wasn’t as clear as it used to be. But just like my grandma remembering me when I was younger, I remember her best from the years before she started forgetting. Our walks to pick raspberries, her homemade doughnuts, the coffee she was always drinking, and her patience and peaceful way sparkle the brightest when I think back on our time together. ~Stephanie