Wednesday, December 16, 2009

it can't take this

It can be a bit rare these days to have all 4 of your grandparents still living on this earth with you as an adult. I'm very blessed to be one of those people.

A few weekends ago, we spent time with each of my grandparents - Josiah's great-grandparents! He had met and been loved on by 3 of them before, and finally had the chance to meet his great-grandma Lorraine. Grandma has Alzheimer's and is living in a lovely care facility near our hometown.

If you know someone who suffers from Alzheimer's, then you know how much the disease can affect one's life and family. After not seeing Grandma for months, I didn't know how much she had digressed or what kind of mood she would be in that day.

There was a young gal entertaining the residents with songs on the piano when we arrived, so we (Josh, Josiah, my Dad, sister Kayla, and myself) pulled up a few chairs next to Grandma Lorraine and Papa Del. Immediately Grandma was taken with Josiah. She's always loved little babies and her great-grandson was no exception.

After a few minutes, we all went into a quieter room to visit and take pictures. The most adorable peppermint tree served as the backdrop and Josiah happily waved his very own peppermint decoration as he sat on his great-grandparents lap (He only ended up accidentally smacking it on Grandma's head twice - oops!).

It's never easy to see someone that you love so dearly suffering from a horrible disease. It's hard when she doesn't look and act the same way as she used to. It's hurts your heart when she doesn't remember you as you. Grandma was this lovely, sweet, kind-hearted, well-dressed, gentle lady. She always had the right things to say. She was always smiling and singing and reading books to us. I often find myself struggling to remember her.

Throughout our entire adoption journey, there was a sadness that came from not being able to share our joy with Grandma...because I know how much she would've loved my child. Because I know how deeply she loved me.


Oh, how I wish Josiah could know her as I knew her.

Alzheimer's has taken away so much, but it can't take everything. It certainly can't take away moments like this...

meeting great-grandma 3

...or a gentle look in a pair of eyes.

It can't take away sitting together in front of the Christmas tree...

meeting great-grandma 6

....or a smile....

meeting great-grandma 2

...or a touch of a hand...

meeting great-grandma 5

It may take them someday, but today it can't.

So while sadness and hurt is still there, I try to push past them and treasure the precious moments that do come along...

meeting great-grandma 3

...as long as the Lord allows them to.



19 comments:

  1. My grandmother also suffered from Alzheimer's so I know exactly the pain and sadness you feel. How special to have these sweet pictures and your sweet memories to share with your son. Although it is a "theif" of a disease, our God is still good and allowed you to catch a simple smile between a great grandmother and her grandson!!

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  2. that post was precious, Rachel, absolutely precious.

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  3. What a great moment you captured. My grandma suffered a severe stroke several years ago. Her speech and short term memory are gone...I'm so thankful she survived, but I dearly miss the conversations and memories we used to share together.

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  4. Rachel - I really "get" this. And I love how eloquently you have written it. Beautiful!

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  5. beautiful post. Alzheimer's is so difficult to live with. i'm so sorry your family has been affected by it. matt's granddad had it and it was so hard to watch.

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  6. I can't even imagine the pain involved in this illness. Adam's uncle suffers from it, but no one close to me does, thankfully. I'm happy for you to have these moments regardless of the tough times.

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  7. My grandmother has alzheimer's and I understand everything you are going thru. She does not know who I am anymore. :( Very sad. I do have her picture with both my boys and the picture you got with your little guy is priceless.

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  8. These are precious pictures Rachel...I know you will treasure them forever. And one day, Josiah will too :)

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  9. We had Alzheimer's hit my Great Grandmother... it was tough. So glad you got to share your boy with her.

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  10. Beautiful post, Rachel. My grandpa had alzheimer's so I know what you are talking about.

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  11. Aw, Rach, what a beautiful post!

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  12. I'm so glad you were able to visit her and get some lovely pics with her and Si.
    My grandfather had Alzheimers and so did Dave's grandmother. It is a horrible disease...

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  13. Absolutely beautiful. And the photo of them looking at each other... oh my word.

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  14. Oh, Rachel, this post made me tear up. My husband's grandmother has Alzeheimer's, and we were talking about it Tuesday night and how she was so different from what she used to be. He's told me so many times, "I wish you would have known the Mimi that I grew up with." We're going to visit her after Christmas, though, and I'm so excited to do so. Praise God for a wonderful day and wonderful memories with Josiah's great-grandmother!! =D And what beautiful pictures, too!

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  15. Lovely post. Lovely pictures. Lovely moments.

    Josiah seems to be loving those peppermint decorations...awe!

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  16. A beautiful tribute, Rachel. My grandfather suffered from this as well {my only grandparent}.
    {{{{hugs}}}}

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  17. How very special. Alex only has grandmothers left - we try to ensure he sees them often.

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  18. It is so hard losing a grandparent. I've lost two. One suddenly. And one slowly...also to Alzheimer's. It is very difficult for everyone. Praise God you have these precious photos to remember her meeting Josiah. And hold close those memories of her as HER.

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