All my grandmother’s problems have been solved

February 29, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

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Since I come from a family of lawyers and politicians, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that my grandmother was the center of much debate. We tend to think that debate actually solves problems, even incurable, terminal diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. One of her children told me that having my motives constantly questioned would keep me on my toes so I could offer my grandmother better care. Actually, she went beyond questioning – she called the Department of Elderly Services a few times to investigate us.

If it took thirty years, in essence, to settle my great-grandparents’ estate, it should come as no surprise that we spent twenty years deciding where my grandmother should live. Of course, she pretty much ignored everything we said (if she could hear it at all) but it made us feel better.

Linda at God, Mom, Alzheimer’s, and Me hasn’t gotten much respect either, not even from her mother. But the thought came to her recently, “You could be out of a job.”

Sometimes, when I think about my grandmother, that’s all I care about. I don’t care about how I was treated or whether I was provided for. I spent thousands of dollars to provide for her. I don’t care about what low-pesticide, high-antioxidant foods we could have given her to make her live to 96 instead of 95. I don’t care about what we could have done to make her children happier. I just miss her.

We debated all the possibilities, accused each other of good faith and bad faith, and guess what? All my grandmother’s problems have been solved. But not because we were so smart, skilled, clever, or educated. Because my grandmother died two years ago, almost as soon as her professional caregivers took over and I moved out.

I will be moving out too, someday to go where my grandmother has gone (perhaps). Someday I may be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps sooner than I think. Next week, someone else will be taking over as the writer of this blog, just as someone has taken over care of my grandmother’s house. In the end, it’s foolish to hold onto the pain. Let’s just hold onto the joys.

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