Home > Thoughts > Alzheimer’s blows.

Alzheimer’s blows.

I meant to write this one a long time ago, but things got very busy recently.


I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Christmas day with my cousins. It is an amazing movie. The story is beautiful, and the way it is told is fantastic. The language was my favorite part, and although I didn’t cry (I never cry in movie theaters), it is definitely a tear jerker. It’s one I will be buying when it comes out to video.

But I was thinking after the movie. Benjamin Button is a person that’s born an old man, and as he grows mentally older, his body grows physically younger. It’s heart-wrenching, and the ending is inevitable. So not to ruin the movie for anyone, but obviously, Benjamin loses the ability to care for himself. Watching this movie, it reminded me of my grandmother.

Alzheimer’s reminded me of the imaginary affliction Benjamin struggles with. My dear grandmother has lost any ability to care for herself. Papa has nurses that get out of bed in the morning, dress her for the day, watch her while he is at work, bathe her in the evening, and put her in bed at night. It’s heartbreaking. Papa is amazing with her. I watch him pat her cheek, kiss her forehead, speak sweetly to her, and play the piano when she’s in bed. My grandmother is no longer my grandmother, but merely a shell of the woman she used to be. But Papa–well, he just keeps loving her. Even after she forgot everyone else’s name, she still knew his. She would call “Jack!” when she was frightened or wanted him nearby. She can’t even do that much.

I hate that my beloved Mimi has become a comatose shell. That is how my dad described her on Saturday. She’s no longer the woman I vaguely remember. She’s been sick so long that these are mostly the memories of her I have left, and I despise that. Bitterly. I’ve trained myself not to look at her when I go to Papa’s. I can’t handle it. I just can’t, and I know that sounds cold. The last time she spoke to me, she asked me who I was. That was two or three years ago.

But as hard as this is on my sister and me, it’s even worse for my dad. That’s one of the worst parts. Dad is normally such a steadfast person, and this breaks him. I hate Alzheimer’s. One of my biggest fears is that Dad will get this disease. I couldn’t bear it if I lost my father in this way.

The best word to describe how my Mimi used to be is “vibrant.” She was beautiful, friendly, and always smiling. My best memory of her is curling up on her lap at night, listening to Papa tell an Angelina story. That was our thing. I love her so much, but she’s been gone a long time.

The holidays this year were the worst. For the first time, Papa didn’t take her chair up to the table. Everyone noticed, but no one said anything. It was awful.

This is a very drab post. But it’s made me think about my family. Don’t ever take them for granted. Love them and spend as much time with them as you can.

Categories: Thoughts Tags: , , ,
  1. onemanoneview
    January 5, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I am so sorry for what your family is going through. At the same time it is beautiful that your Mimi has your Papa in this sad last stage of her life. I will say a prayer for the comfort of your family.



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