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Julie's Story
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Julie's Story

My name is Julie, and my grandmother passed away May 10, 2008 from Alzheimer's. My grandmother moved in with us in 2000, and we cared for her. She was a blessing to my life. Taking care of her made me stronger, but then again, it wore me down.

She was a loving grandmother, and she always made sure we had what we needed. She was always there if you needed a laugh. As the years went on, it all got worse. She started forgetting things, seeing things and didn't even know who we were. But I stood there and thought, "She knows who we are; it's the disease that don't know us."

She would walk around here talking about her chickens. It made us laugh, but we went along with it. She was always worried her chickens were not getting taken care of, but I always told her I took care of them and they were fine. She also would walk around pulling on my shirt and telling me, "Wow, that's pretty." She said that I was beautiful and my response was that "I got my good looks from you."

She was just godsend; she made everything look much brighter then what they were. She would have her days when she was hollering and scared of everything around her. I would just sit there and reassure her things were fine and I wasn't going to let anything happen to her. She was such a strong woman because days when she was bad, I'd sit there and think this is the last day of her life. She would lie in the bed, unable to walk, and all she would do is holler and scream. I'd have tears in my eyes the whole time. Then the night went by, and here she comes down the hallway jabbering those jaws of hers. She was amazing and strong, and I hope I grow that strength inside me.

Then the day came when we had to call 911 because we couldn't get her out of bed or move her. This was the hardest part of it all; even though we thought the whole time it was hard. Once they got her to the hospital, they took her off all her medicine. I sat there and held her hand. I prayed for her and me. We sang "You are My Sunshine" because that was our song.

Two days passed, and she was worse, but we found her a bed at a nursing home. They moved her there April 10, 2008. The nurses and doctors there gave her a week to live. I was devastated, but I knew her strength; I second guessed the doctor's opinion. A month passed, and we got the call from a nurse. She said it will be a few hours to a few days.

We went out there and sat with her the whole time. On May 10, 2008, we went up there and the wind was blowing badly. I have always been afraid of the wind; it was my biggest fear. We walked into the room, and she began modeling. We all sat there. My family and I talked about all the good times. My mom, my aunt and I walked outside for a minute, and on the way down the hall, my other aunt came running yelling, "Hurry, hurry. She's gone."

Tears filled my eyes with sorrow and happiness. She was no longer suffering. I walked in the room and dropped to my knees. She wasn't breathing. My aunt hollers, "We love you Mom," as loud as she could. My grandmother took one deep breath, and she was back. It was amazing. We all started singing "Amazing Grace" and with two more breaths, she was gone.

Everybody walked outside crying and feeling numb. I disappeared back into the room. I've never been around a dead body by myself; it was also a fear of mine. I couldn't resist as I wanted one last moment with my grandmother. I sat there and sang "You are My Sunshine" and I started crying so hard. I just kept staring at her, hoping she would breathe again. But it wasn't going happen. I knew that, but my hopes were high. She looked so peaceful.

My mom walked in and was surprised that I was even in there alone. My grandmother was still there looking over me. My grandmother was my strength, my heart and soul. I relied on her for my life. It was the hardest thing I've ever been through, but it was so worth it. I just hope I can have that strength to be who I want to be in life. And I'm sure I will.

I am not scared of the wind anymore. I think of it as my grandmother telling me she's here and looking over me.


 

Alzheimer's Association

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Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.