*This is dedicated to my parents and grandparents.
The other day I looked at my mom and realized the wrinkles on her face and grey hairs on her head have become more apparent. She once told me she looked at my grandmother the same way and it hit her like a ton of bricks. My mother is the sole caregiver to my 94 year old grandmother. While my mom has my support, her life now revolves around caring for my grandma. Sometimes I wonder how she does it.
Although many elderly live with a form of dementia rarely do people talk about living with the those who have it. Not many realize how hard it is to not cry, or breakdown everyday. While holding one of my brother's foster kids, I was talking to my grandma and she was talking to the baby and calling him 'baby Melissa'. It took every ounce of strength in my body not to cry that day.
The best thing to do is just take one day at a time. We try to make life easy on my grandma and I try to make it easy on my mom. It will break my heart if the day comes and she doesn't remember anyone.
During this time my paternal grandfather has also had some difficult moments. It's hard to see my dad watch his father grow older. My dad struggles and understandably so with this notion. He has heard the hallucinations and harm this does. My grandpa lives in an assisted care facility, where he is predominately on his own. The time may have come where he can no longer live alone.
Many people wonder and speculate why I have moved back to the east coast and the biggest reason is to be around my family. I felt like my life was becoming too busy to make time for my parents. As an adult, I have learnt to cherish them and care for them as they do for their own parents. It's the circle of life. I guess what I am saying without becoming too sentimental is cherish each and every moment you have with your parents (and grandparents). Make time and never be too busy for a phone call, a letter or a visit.