Tomorrow my gram and other family members are coming over to my house to celebrate Thanksgiving. It will be nice to spend time with her and have another family gathering with loved ones around. I’m sure many of the residents at her facility will be alone, but they usually do a good job with making the residents feel special. I hope everyone who celebrates has a great day! – Emily
I don’t have many material attachments, but no matter how mental or cerebral one might be, there can be moments of nostalgia sweep over you. I suppose it’s less about the physical, and more about the memories. The other day I was looking over pictures in one of my Facebook albums when I lived with my gram. There was one day when we did a fun photo shoot together and I had her walk around her house, posing in various spots. One picture in particular gave me a flood of quick emotion — the pose by her sink, with the background of her phone, with all the notes taped to the wall.
I had a moment of tears; my eyes filled up with shallow pools. Her condo was recently sold for good, so it was as if the end really has come — the end of ever seeing her there, seeing her in her kitchen with her little TV on, watching British comedies, or the news. Never again will I walk down the sidewalk to her front door, and see her walking around in her apron or bathrobe, eating black pepper Triscuits or nibbling on some Challah bread with butter. Never again will I walk in and be greeted with her smiling face, asking me if I wanted anything to eat, nor will I ever observe her pick up crumbs on her terracotta kitchen tiles she tried to keep so clean.
The end of a long, long era has come. It technically ended in June when she moved out, but there’s something more real about it now. The selling of the condo, and seeing the pictures really hit home. Memories are really amazing; they can trigger so many emotions you may not have felt in the moment. One day I won’t have a grandmother, but I will always have the memories of my childhood, teens and adulthood, and living with her, where I experienced very profound changes in my life.
Your warm smile, cheek bones of strength
Your welcoming voice, your social grace
Your energetic presence, a busy-bee for sure
Happy to see anyone, at your front door
You are my grammy, one of a kind for sure
Swimming and tennis in the summer
Tuna melts on a cool fall day
A bowl of ice cream, after we all play
The sound of the glass candy bowl
The crinkling of the warm fireplace
The dining room set, with old fashion lace
I will never forget all that we did
I will never forget the warmth that you shared
Times are different, that’s the truth
The memories we have are quite special
Never did I imagine the relationship we now share
Nothing will ever quite compare
I will start off by saying there was no blood. There was no crying. It all started when my gram and I were hanging around the front door. We had come in from a walk around the loop. I saw this man turn his body slowly around with his walker, so he could then sit down in the chair. As he was adjusting his feet before he went to sit down, I saw him doing this marching in place motion. I knew it looked off.
Seconds later, his bodyweight started going backwards and he fell to the ground. I watched the whole thing, eyes glued on him. Oddly enough, my heart didn’t even skip a beat. It was a calm and emergency-free fall in my eyes. The interesting part was the way this man tucked his body and curled to the ground. His instincts must have taken over — or maybe the way his spine was already a bit curled helped him out. He had a nice ski racing coat on that probably helped pad his pack, AND he didn’t fly his arms open like in an action film. He kinda rolled his body, like a C-shape, naturally and gracefully.
I walked right over, not wanting to make a big scene over it. I didn’t want to bother him, or scare anyone else. “I just fell,” he said, in a confident, slightly scared voice. His hearing aid had come off from around his right ear, although the actual internal part was still intact.
Immediately after checking in, I then shouted “Nurse, we had a fall!” The head nurse was on the phone, and she swiftly put it down and came right over. Two women got him to his feet, and started asking him all sorts of questions. I tried to explain what I saw because I was right there, and didn’t have any memory issues, but they didn’t seem to care what I was saying or give me any attention. I decided I would just walk away and go hang out with my grandmother.
My grandmother was right in the hall the whole time, but she wasn’t too aware of what exactly had happened, although she saw the aftermath and help the nurses were giving to him. Later, I explained what had happened, and she replied, “you know that same area is right where I fell too.”
After visiting in my gram’s room for some time, we emerged back down the hall. My grandmother knows this man fairly well, and our families have had some business connection. When we got to the chair where the man was being attended to (nurse checking his pulse) she looked at him in the eyes to show care and curiosity. The man didn’t want her lingering around. I didn’t want to linger either. I think my gram was trying to be involved because that’s what she does.
“He can get mean,” she said. I agreed he was a little harsh, because he had flicked his hand in the air so we would skedaddle. Really, how nice would you expect an elderly man to be, with dementia, who seemed to be trying to maintain the last bit of pride he had?
Today my family met up at an Inn where we had a nice celebration for my Gram’s 90th birthday. The sun was shining and the weather was perfect. We all had a great lunch; my Grammy got Lamb and orzo, my dad and uncle got a HUGE steak and I just got a bowl of soup. For dessert, a big cake was brought out! My grandmother seemed to have a good time. Her sister-in-law was there as well. She was married to my Gram’s brother who recently died from Alzheimer’s.
I’d say my gram is doing well, all things considered. When she made a wish before blowing out the candles, I could tell she was really thinking about something. I wonder what she wished for? I brought over her cards and presents and read them to her. She hasn’t been able to see well lately, and I don’t think it is easy for her to read anymore. It was a nice afternoon!
I heard today that my grandmother smashed into a man’s walker, and she cut up her legs pretty bad and also got a bump on the side of her hip from the fall. The nurses had some trouble stopping the bleeding because of the blood thinners she is on.
When I went to visit her today, my aunt, two uncles and my mom were all there. The bandages were being changes when I walked in, but I never got to see the cuts. My grandmother was in good spirits, although she was slightly bothered that she had to go through that whole scenario.
I wasn’t there to witness the accident, but if I had to guess, I would think it had something to do with her dementia, sense of space, balance and vision. I’m having a hard time understanding how she got cut so badly from a walker; I could see a hard fall happening. Luckily it wasn’t anything major, and she is recovering.
My name is Susan Vento and I am writing to you about a cause very close to my heart. In late 2000 my husband, Bruce Vento, passed away. He was serving as a United States House of Representatives member when he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a very rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
My memory of Bruce is what inspires me to do the work I do today. I am a spokesperson for the Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign (ACVRC), a national campaign dedicated to protecting the rights of cancer victims and their families. Today I am sincerely asking for your help.
We are all affected by cancer in one way or another. In an effort to inspire hope amongst all cancer victims, I ask that you use your blog to not only share my story (http://cancervictimsrights.org/memories-that-inspire-my-story-of-hope/) and experience with the ACVRC, but also your biggest inspiration through these trying times. Continuing Bruce’s work is what has truly helped me and I hope to be able to inspire others with my story as well. It’s people like you who have the power to affect change and lift spirits.
In honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, I am putting all my efforts towards building awareness for asbestos caused cancers as well as spreading hope by uniting us all with this common thread of inspiration. Thank you so much for your time.
All my best,
I have decided that it is time to work on my self. What that means is that I need to give to myself, or, learn to let good things into my life — new and exciting things, like never before. The other day I had this sort of resentment about my volunteering and the way I am giving so much to others. Now, in all reality, I know I am projecting my issues onto the volunteering; I know it is not the cause of my problems, but a reflection of what I do not have in my life. Either way, I feel like I need to take a break. In fact, I have been taking a break over the past month as I have been busy with working. I don’t need to volunteer in life to be happy, but I’m sure I will return to the cause in some way. Maybe this break won’t be much of a break. I also am well aware we can learn to let good things in our life, while volunteering or being in the giving mind frame, but sometimes when you are busy caring for others, you simply don’t have the energy to let good things in. With that said, I feel like this blog will possibly slow down, and there may not be much to report in on.
If anything critical comes up, I will let my followers know. Thanks to everyone who has followed me and shared the gift of care and care-giving to those in need.