It was only in the last few years that I started calling her Obason. She has always been grandma......
I was in the airport a few weeks ago with my family when my mom called me and told me my Grandma was not doing well. She had some episodes of dizziness and not talking very much. After a few days she was doing ok and up and about. Up to this point she had been loosing little memories here and there, but nothing to drastic happened. This was the first reality check of her state. I started to cry in the airport thinking of my grandma. I couldn't pull it together. Thinking of loosing her. The memories of her in my life started to flood my mind and I was so sad. I had to see her. I had to spend time with her before she wasn't HER anymore.
It is a strange thing to have someone you love experience dementia. It is slow and you go thru a time of "oh it's not that bad" she is still grandma. Oh she just forgot what pizza is called, but she is still here. Oh she put fish in a recipe that she always put chicken in, but she is still her. Then one day it hits you.......those things she can't remember are never coming back! They are lost forever.
You don't realize something as simple as a meal your Grandma makes for you being such a beautiful comforting part about that person until it is gone. It becomes something lost. One memory here, another memory there and the person starts to disappear right in front of you. And you cling to those parts of them that are familiar. In your heart begging them to remember.
I recently went to visit my Grandma to spend time with her. She is always asking me to come visit her. I am so thankful for the time that I had.
One morning while I was there I remembered how she use to ALWAYS played Solitaire. Every single day I would walk by her room (she lived with my family pretty consitently since I was 9 years old after my grandpa passed away), so i would walk by her room and see her playing solitaire. I would go in and play double solitaire with her all the time. While I was visiting her I thought "I'll get some cards out!!!". I hadn't seen her play cards in a while and thought it would be so fun! She taught me how to play and could shuffle and deal the cards so quick. I always enjoyed watching her. So I get the cards and start to deal them out and ask her if she remembers how to play Solitaire. She didn't even remember suits! She had no clue how to deal out the cards or how to start the game. It ended up that I was sitting there with her helping her put all the 2's together, 3's together, 4's together etc. It was surreal.
I started typing the list below-memories I have of the past. Things that were HER. Things that were "Grandma". As I was typing I realized how much of that is lost. I started tearing up as I was typing this list. Realizing that I couldn't ask her to make my favorite Japanese food, tell her how yummy it was and hear how proud and happy she was that I liked Japanese food. I couldn't play cards with her anymore. I couldn't even sit down with her and remember some of these things with her......
Playing Double Solitaire
Sukiyaki (one of my favorite dishes she would make)
Walking home from school with her and racing down the street (she still remembers this!)
Her amazing skill of making a bed- still to this day I can't make a bed as crisp and tight as she would.
how she says "Oh Aiyana!"
Fur Coats- she has so many real fur coats and she loves mink
Getting excited about and eating to much mochi together (we can still do this:))
Her amazing quick way of shuffling cards to play War with me
How she would lick her finger to deal out the cards
Her fish cake soup, soba noodles, gyoza, curry rice and making home made mochi
Teaching me to count to 10 in Japanese
Teaching me to say "I Love You" in Japanese
Her room in our house- always tidy, always 2 pairs of shoes in 2's (neatly side by side), her crisp bed, a deck of cards and her crisp bed that we would sit on and play cards)
Zodeez (what she called flip flops)
Putting all the shoes around the house in 2's, perfectly side by side
The way she bent over to pick up little pieces of dust and random small things that she would always seem to find on the floor
Her regular outfit- a big t-shirt, leggings and mocassins
The time she jumped out of the way when a door came swinging open-like a little ninja!
Her volleyball skills
She loved and still loves me doing her hair and make-up and always says "WOW, thank you!!! You do such a wonderful job!"
Her hands- her hands are so familiar to me-her hands make me feel at home
i love you Grandma!