Every other Sunday, my father and I visit grandmother together. Afterwards I usually rush over to a church in Amsterdam. It has become more emotionally exhausting every time I’ve taken up the courage to see her.
My grandmother suffers from Alzheimer and still lives all by herself. She hardly knows who I am, she sometimes just stares into nothingness. The old lady doesn’t know how to pick up the phone anymore, she throws her food in the flowerpots and a lot of times when I tell her I’m going home she’ll ask “Why am I left all by myself? I want to go home too.” Each time again my father and I will have to convince her that she was already home and that she will have her other children and grandchildren to come visit her very soon.
Long before grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer, she had always been fierce and had a strong will to live and to state her opinion regardless who wanted to listen. This woman lived through World War 2, in the city that got destroyed by bombs and walked miles and miles to look for food for her own when she was just a teenager. That’s how she met grandfather, who was a farmer in a small village. Their story is sad but romantic at the same time.
During my wander years in my early twenties, I called grandmother often. Visiting her was always a bit of a hassle. My contact with the rest of her family has never been that tight. But grandma and grandpa were always happy to talk to me on the phone.
She was an outspoken person, very open minded for her age. Often, I would tell grandmother that she will live to be a 100. She would always laugh about that. Often, grandmother said that her greatest fear was to get old and losing her independence and not being able to recognize her own reflection.
Years went by. A lot has changed since then. Grandfather passed away 10 years ago. They were married for more than 60 years. They lived together for more than 60 years. Not much after he passed away, grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer. Slowly she forgets everything.
At first I thought it was sad that granny doesn’t recognize her own house anymore. But lately I’ve start to wonder, whether granny means something else with “I want to go home”. Maybe, she wants to go home to grandpa. Because the house she lives in now has never been the same without him.
It makes me sad that grandmother doesn’t feel at home anymore in her own home. It makes me sad that I can’t seem to convince the family that it’s just not a good idea to leave her all alone. She deserves so much better. I wish I could do more.
I was so emotionally drained yesterday after visiting granny that I didn’t even go to church afterwards. I was so not in the mood. 😦