My name is David, and my grandmother, Edith, suffers from Alzheimer's. She has lived with this for a terribly long seven or eight years now. Edith is 83 years of age. She has lived a full life. She spent so much time caring for and thinking of others. She and my grandfather raised two children after losing their first son before his second birthday.
My grandmother could make beautiful afghans, play the piano and bake delicious cookies. She was a good listener and a loving person. She spent most of her life as a homemaker and did so much for my grandfather, like washing his clothes, cooking his meals and taking care of the finances.
The first signs of her Alzheimer's appeared when she could no longer judge the appropriate size of the afghans she would crochet. She eventually could not drive, cook or do laundry. The checkbook was passed on to my grandfather. He would seem to have trouble balancing the books, cooking and doing laundry. Performing these tasks were not his forte after so many years of not worrying about them.
We had to install a door alarm at my grandparent's apartment after she wandered out during the night several times. Luckily, she was not harmed and was found each time. She was confused and looking to go home to "Harrison Avenue," which is the home where she raised her children in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I assume she refers back to that time of her life because it is where most of her good memories took place. At least I like to think of it that way. She continually asks to be taken home to "Harrison Avenue."
The not-so-funny thing is Edith has not lived on Harrison Avenue for over 30 years. It's like the last 30 years have disappeared and there are very few signs of the rest of her past.
We lost my grandfather this year, and Edith now lives in a nursing home. She looks for her husband often and now even asks if we have seen her mother or father. She withdraws from the other residents on her floor. A woman who once opened herself up to anyone in her presence now prefers solitude in a place where very little peace can be found.
I pray to God and ask that he finds it in his power to ease her pain and hope that he calls for her soon for an angel like Edith does not deserve an ending like this. Godspeed to all who are affected by this disease – mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters and more.