This post is a precursor to Thursday's post with a short story I wrote based on something that happened a few days before Christmas.
The short story is about something my Memaw left me many years ago. I have written some about my Pappy but have not really shared a lot about Memaw because well, it's hard. You see my Memaw has dementia. One of the hardest things in my life is watching the lady I adore so much slip away from us mentally. Dementia (Alzheimer's) is often called the long goodbye and I find that phrase to be so true.
I am the oldest of the grandchildren and feel blessed that she was such a big part of my life.
So today I am going to tell you about my life with her.
Her name is Artie Mae. She was born in 1923 not too many miles from where I now live. She was a girly girl growing up with her many siblings. I don't know a whole lot about her early life and young adult life. She is a worrier. Always has been. But she is also fiesty...and oh so funny. I know her life with my Pappy was adventurous as the two of them did several business endeavors...but I think she loved staying home best.
I get a lot of things from her....
My love of cooking. My love of hats and shoes and purses. My middle name. My fiestyness ;)
I feel so blessed to have those small parts of her.
What a lot of people don't know is that I lived with Memaw for many years. After Pappy died my sophmore year of High School she was afraid to stay at night alone. So Howie and I would take turns spending the night...but soon I just chose to stay with her every night. I would go up around 8 p.m. and we would watch Emeril every night. She encouraged me to go to college and we talked. A lot. My uncle and his family got her a dog and she loved that dog to distraction! Noodles adored her just as much.
After I went away to college the first time she stayed by herself. Once I moved back home she welcomed me back with open arms.
The second time I went away to college the dementia had started to reveal itself. She soon moved in with my parents.
The summers were very hard because she changed so drastically. She did things she could not do anymore because of dangers. It got so rough that finally she had to be put in a nursing home.
And that is where she has been for several years. And slowly she is slipping away.
To say that this is hard is an understatement.
(we missed you Jenn and Aunt Kim!)
The person you so dearly love is still here. But she is also not here. Right now she does not remember us. She is in her teens mentally. She asked for her Mom. She asked about her brothers and sisters who are gone.
My Mum is a rock in this. At times she does break down but she goes anyway. My tender heart has a lot of trouble with going. I miss her. I miss the Memaw I knew growing up.
But then I remember the good things. I do something that reminds me of her. And I remember Psalm 121. She loves those verses. And they remind me of her.
And my heart mends and breaks a little...all at once.
I guess that is what love is all about sometimes.
Sweet Memaw. I love you.