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Dementia and The Full Circle Moment that Brought me to Tears

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I have been putting off this post for weeks. Dementia Sucks…. I mean, who wants to ball their eyes out on purpose right? I knew that sitting behind my computer and starting this post would be emotional and honestly, I have no time for crying. -ha. The time finally came where I realized what everyone has been telling me for months. My grandfather is slipping away. The Dementia and the Full Circle Moment that brought me to tears happened almost two weeks ago and I barely made it home from the Nursing Home without having a nervous breakdown. -ha. I say that kiddingly because my son was in the car with me and I was trying not to lose it. He knew I was upset which made him upset. 

 

As a kid, I spent many nights with my grandfather in his cow barn, sitting on bales of hay watching him do chores. Once he had the cows in their stalls, it was my job to give them their grain. I can remember these moments like it was yesterday. I would walk up and down the aisle and just dump grain in the long troughs where their grain would go. 

A couple weeks ago, while my son was with me, my grandfather starting talking to me about how Tony (my son) was with him “last night” helping him do chores. He said he was there watching like he usually does and they had a lot to do. It hit me, he was talking to me, “about me.” My son just sat there and looked at him and didn’t really know what to say? Thankfully my son said nothing. -ha. Then all of sudden, he just switched topics and started telling me about how he got divorced (remember he got married a couple months ago?). You see the nurse he thought he married, left the nursing home to pursue another job. She said her good-byes to him and explained she got a new job but in his mind, she divorced him. She also took off with the snazzy new red car he bought her too. -ha. 

 

Dementia and The Full Circle Moment that Brought me to tears

My grandfather is steadily declining and is no longer able to stand or walk. He is wheel chair bound and his brain is mush. It’s such a crappy quality of life and for the first time, I am realizing he would be better off in heaven with my gram. He doesn’t want to go to camp anymore and he just sits in a wheel chair all day staring off into space. He is agitated and often mad. They are trying some new meds to calm his thoughts and comfort him. I don’t want him to die but honestly, I don’t want him to live like this either. It’s to the point where I felt the same about my gram before she passed away. Life has a funny way of coming full circle and these life lessons are sometimes not easy ones. I am very thankful that I have had the opportunity to have my grandparents in my life for as long as I did/do have. Many of my friends never even knew their grandparents. I have to say, this watching and coping with my “new gramp” is not easy and I keep waiting for the day where he doesn’t recognize me.  Every single time I go to the Nursing Home, I wonder…..will he know me? I have started to pray that he just closes his eyes and passes peacefully in his sleep. Now I need to go, wash my face, put some make up on and get my act together! -ha.  

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28 Comments

  1. G Denise Phipps says:

    My heart is breaking for you. It is such a horrible disease and hardest on those loved ones who live through it. Praying for your family and your sweet, funny grandpa. Thank you for sharing and being so open and honest about this journey.

  2. Good Morning Jessica. It makes me sad reading about your Grandfather and the toll it’s taking on you. Remember the good memories only and push away the bad ones. You are a very strong woman and have such a beautiful family. Put one foot in front of the other and continue moving forward and I will join you in your prayers. Blessings to you and your family!

  3. Anonymous says:

    So sad and so hard. Hugs

  4. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. It’s so incredibly hard to see a loved one become a shell of their former self. There’s nothing anyone can say to make it better. It’s just terrible and I’m sorry.

  5. Love you Jessy. You are so brave and you’ll never regret making so many memories for all of us to follow. Big hugs to you

  6. My Mother is in a nursing home suffering with dementia. I know exactly how you feel. It is absolutely heart wrenching. I miss my mother so very much – I go and talk to her wondering if she even knows who I really am – I hold her hand and we smile – but the entire time my heart is breaking wishing I could have just a moment with her the way it used to be. Truly there are no words to describe the heartache this horrible disease brings. I will pray for your dear Grandfather.

  7. neuroticmom says:

    So sorry to read about your grandfather. It is such a tough road to travel. I went home to see my mom on her 90th b-day. My brothers told her for weeks I was coming but she was completely surprised when I walked in the door. I never gave it a second thought that she wouldn’t know me I mean I am her only daughter, her baby, how could she not know me? But although she knew me when I walked in the door, several hours later as I walked out of the kitchen I heard her ask my one brother “Am I suppose to know who she is?” It is gut wrenching when they no longer know who you are . I am sorry your grandfather has gotten agitated and mad so far my mom still has a wonderful sense of humor and is very easy going. If you haven’t already may I suggest you look into the Teepa Snow videos? She is a wonderful speaker and has helped me understand better and is helping me know what to expect as time goes on. Sending prayers to you and your family.

  8. I totally get it. Heartache like no other but you are doing this! Not only are you doing it but you’re doing it with strength and grace. Praying for you and for your sweet Gramp. ♥️

  9. (((Squeeze Hugs))) & tissues. 🙁

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your Grandfathers story. Very sad but I always find them so interesting. All of you are in my prayers.

  11. Annette Wallace says:

    My heart aches for you. I went through the same thing with my father. He died on Christmas Eve (so Christmas will never be the same) I was also born on his birthday back when such things could only be arranged by the hand of God….so…..no more birthdays for me. 😉

    I did two things that I am so glad I did and one I wish I had done.

    As you may know, music resides in a part of the brain often unaffected by dementia. I used this information and sang with my dad the song he used to sing to me (and played some favorites for him from his era). Somehow, I realized the importance of technology and was able to capture his voice. I didn’t want a video as I didn’t want to memorialize how he was, but that voice, I wanted it forever! I was also able to capture him telling me that he loved me. This has now been made into a sound wave that hangs on my wall. No words needed….I know what it says. My young (computer savvy) friend made it for me but some shops on Etsy can take these sound waves and make them into jewelry (if you would desire something like that) I didn’t. They can also make jewelry if you capture a fingerprint. I didn’t do that but wish now I had. Those big strong hands and all the building projects we did together. I do not own an Etsy shop so I am not trying to increase my business, but simply sharing my heart. We used to fix all kinds of things together. It’s ironic and sad that at the end of his life, I was unable to fix his dementia. Praying and supporting research for a cure for this hideous disease that steals the most valuable thing we have here on earth…..memories. Hugs and prayers my cyber friend. FYI, crying in the shower……priceless.

  12. Cynthia Spurlock says:

    I understand. This season of life for you and your family is difficult and sad. I will be praying.

  13. As I sit here reading this the tears flow and my heart hurts with you. My parents moved in with me from their “retirement home in Florida. Mom’ health was declining and she passed 2 years after the move. Four years later my journey with full blown dememtia began with my dad. Mom knew before she passed. It was 18 months and I thank God for Hospice and my bestest friend and her husband who stood and loved my Dad ever so much.
    I never knew I would beg to have anyone, let alone my parent, let go and die. I am blessed that Dad knew me only once thinking I was my Mom—but he immediately corrected himself.
    I will continue to pray for you , your family, and your Gramp. Let the tears flow, share with those who will listen, and keep those wonderful memories close to your heart. It is a horrible, ugly journey–may God give you strength and peace. Thank you for the updates. Many, many care.

  14. mickie mclaughlin says:

    Today’s blog brought me to tears. My heart goes out to you and your family as you go down this road with your Grandfather. I too am dealing with very similar issues, but I am taking care of my husband at home. I agree with you when you spoke about feeling being unable to stand watching him fade away, and the opposite thought of not wanting him to die.

    I AM RECOMMENDING THE FOLLOWING BOOK TO ANYONE WHO IS DEALING WITH DEMENTIA ISSUES IN YOUR FAMILIES. “The 36-Hour Day”, Nancy L. Mace, MA, and Peter Rabins, MD, MPH. It was recommended by my husbands neurologist. It will help you navigate thru the stages of dementia, availability of services, and what to expect at the end.

    My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

  15. Freda Moody says:

    You and your family have been wonderful to Grace and Fred…. Freda

  16. My dad used to say that the changes that he was going through was to “help” us to better cope with his passing. By the time my “Pops” passed, we were in deed ready for him to join our other loved ones. My youngest was but a toddler at the time so I tried to explained to him the best I could about angels, wings, flying heavenly up among the clouds. I still laugh today that when I was done my son was like “Wow, Pops up there with just a robe flying around with no underwear. ????” I’ve got alot of explaining to do one day when it’s my time and my dad asks ” What the @#&! were you telling that boy? Remember the love. Think about what you have and not about what you are losing. It’ll help. I promise.

  17. I am so sorry you are going through this. My mom got to the point that she didn’t know me. That is a very strange feeling I can tell you. I had those same mixed feelings of not wanting her to have to live like that. She was bedridden for 4 years. I did feel relieved when she passed, but after one year I still miss the way she was before Dementia.

  18. Loraine Folsom says:

    I have been where you are and it isn’t easy. My mother was two months away from her 97th birthday when she went to heaven. Dementia came on very slowly but before it was over I prayed for release from this earth so her body could be made whole and prefect . It wasn’t easy so I understand your pain and thoughts about letting go. We learn so much from our grandparents and parents but sometimes don’t realize just how much until they are gone. I pray for your peace.

    Loraine

  19. I’m so sorry! This is such a horrible disease! It’s so hard for the ones watching their loved ones go through it. I’m glad you can talk to us about it and share what you’re going through. I think it will help you, and many others that are going through the same thing, or will in the future.

  20. Hugs and love from Vermont! Nothing I can say or do will make this better. Just know, someone cares. Life is definitely a lesson in patience and understanding, ❤

  21. Audrey Johnson says:

    It is a very difficult place to be in. Praying for peace for you.

  22. Juanita in OH says:

    Prayers to all for comfort during this extremely difficult time. I have grown attached to your Grandfather and all the wonderful stories you have shared with us. I feel a knot in my stomach and I can only hope you are aware of how important it is to share this journey for you and us. TFS and caring. Sending cyber HUGS to all.

  23. I am so sorry to hear of the decline with your grandfather. Watching a loved one got through that is excruciatingly painful. Rejoice in the moments and remember him the way he was! Celebrate the good days and find a way to laugh through the confusion. If there comes a day that he doesn’t remember your face, he will remember the love you share. I will never forget mine telling me that she didn’t remember my name but she knew that we loved each other very much. That was both a very sad and a very wonderful moment. The bond you have always shared remains. Remain hopeful and love him through it. Hang in there!

  24. I am so sorry for you and your family. This is a very hard road to travel, as they forget who you are we are faced with realizing they are not the person we remember. I say we because both of my parents have dementia. My mother has Alzheimer’s and my dad has vascular dementia. Both at different stages. My prayers are with your family, this is a hard road for anyone with family that suffers from this.

  25. Sending you hugs and love. My father had Alzheimer’s too. I know exactly what you are going through. It is so heartbreaking. And yet as you have discovered, some moments can be very endearing. I will keep you all in my prayers. Keep remembering the good times. XOXOXO

  26. Debra Ruffing says:

    I am so sad for your Grandpa and you too…and of course your family. I know the pain… Last evening we went to the cemetery to put silk flowers om my Mama’s grave. The family was with me and we changed the flowers. It was starting to sprinkle just a tiny bit so we were hurrying. Suddenly I stopped and looked back. I walked back toward their markers. I stared at them and tears welled up. But I did not cry because the family has had such a hard time lately. I just felt a profound sense of loss. It is not fair that I have to to to the cemetery to see my Mama for Mother’s Day. I want my parents here. I miss them so very much. It is so sad to have holidays without them. But this one really hit me like a fist in my chest. I want my Mama.