My grandmother’s health has been failing for some time, and she’s been battling Alzheimer’s at the same time her heart and lungs have weakened. It’s the circle of life, and we know what’s coming. You know what’s coming because you’ve lost a grandparent before like I have, or you’ve watched someone you care about lose their grandparent.
It doesn’t matter. It fucking sucks. It fucks with you. Especially the Alzheimer’s part.
Two nights ago, on Skype, my grandmother yelled at me from New York. She was so angry. She yelled in Korean through the screen.
“Don’t let Noah play in the kitchen! His dick will fall off!”
I laughed at first, and so did my mother who was sitting next to my grandmother. From here in Belgium I consider it a blessing to be able to Skype, and Skype at all with my grandmother. She’s still got some fire in her, but she then kept going. She wouldn’t let it go and she started getting mean about it.
Last night, on Skype, I was retelling my mother a story and my grandmother interrupted. My grandmother yelled at me again. Nothing about Noah, but random memories of the past apparently. She was having an episode. It’s like she didn’t recognize me anymore, all of a sudden. Her words hurt nonetheless. I wasn’t sure what part of her rant was clear, and what part was some lashing out in dementia.
As a grandchild I hate seeing her like that. In that moment she “switches” I feel like a little girl again and I just don’t want her to be angry with me. Sometimes it’s funny in the moment, just to hear your grandmother say the word dick to you on Skype. Sometimes it just hurts and it’s disconcerting still, the day after.
It must be horrible to lose your bearings. I’m scared it will happen to my mother. Of course I’m scared it will happen to me. I’m naturally dramatic and there’s Alzheimer’s in the family. If you all have any personal experiences or non-textbook advice, please share.
For now I reign in my fear and keep up Skype with my mother and my grandmother.