Loving someone with Alzheimer is painful. One day he/she wakes up remembering you and then the next minute you’re forgotten. You try to hide the pain by smiling and telling who you are and your relationship, but you know that deep down inside that one day you’ll really be forgotten. I should know because my maternal grandmother suffered from Alzheimer.
At first, I thought it was nothing major because I was still young. I was only still in middle school and had no interest in the health care or whatsoever. I thought she is just suffering from short term memory lost. Little did I know that her short term memory lost will forever made me become a forgotten shadow. She didn’t lived with us, she lived in another state. But she always came to visit us, until she got to old and health problems took away her energetic life. But she was always my grandmother. We talked on the phone and she recognize my voice away.
Soon she started to not recognize my mother’s, her very own daughter, voice. And my mom would cry silently after ending the phone conversation. I couldn’t understand why. My grandmother, when the phone was passed to us children, would asked who I was and who my siblings are, at first it started to be annoying because I would always have to remind her who I am. And she get us mixed up.
One day though, I had a tough day at school dealing with senior project and AP level classes. After my mom talked to her and my other siblings the phone was finally passed to me and at this point I started to research about multiple diseases and disorders. This was when I finally started to realize that I had somewhat of an interest within the healthcare system. And I finally learned what my grandmother was suffering from. My grandmother asked me who I am again and this time around, I simply answer her “Your granddaughter who loves you.” And she simply say, “I love you too.”
That was the last time I ever talked to her because I soon went away to college. My family received one last phone call from her and she asked to speak to all of us, that day she remembered all of us, our names and who we were. But I wasn’t home so instead she left my mom with the message “Tell Mai Kou that I loved her and for her to work hard.”A few weeks later close to Thanksgiving she passed away.
It was painful that she couldn’t recognize my voice like she used too or couldn’t name us when she looked at our family photos. But I appreciated the days when she recognized my voice and even cherish the days when she didn’t recognize my voice or forget who I was halfway through the conversation. There are days when I feel like time wasn’t long enough, but long enough to last forever.