My father is 57, my grandmother’s eldest child, and the first person called when she starts to have an episode.That evening he was at work and wouldn’t have been able to make it to my grandmother’s for another hour.There was always a big Italian dinner with our cousins, all girls on both sides of the family.
Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in.
Aeon email newsletters are issued by the not-for-profit, registered charity Aeon Media Group Ltd (Australian Business Number 80 612 076 614).
I look similar to my father, so I was hoping this would play to my advantage.
When I was younger, my parents would take me to my grandparents’ almost every Sunday, alternating between our maternal and paternal grandparents’ houses.
The driver had picked up my grandmother at the senior center she attends each weekday, as usual, but when the van arrived at her house she refused to get off.
The home care aide waiting for her couldn’t persuade her to come inside, either.Looking at photos of her as a girl can be haunting, as if I am staring at myself from decades past.My grandmother no longer knows my name, but when she sees me on a good day, she smiles because she knows I belong to her. The van door stood wide open and the driver was waiting nearby.I silently prayed that when my grandmother saw my face, her mood would change.Alzheimer’s has stolen her recollection of the people closest to her, but the face she always seems to remember is my father’s.My grandmother Mary, 83, was getting agitated, and so were the other elderly passengers.My grandmother is one of more than five million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease.On Christmas my father was Santa and even now, though the cousins are all over 18, we make him dress up, because the tradition has become very important to us. During family dinners, he would take out old photos of his grandparents and tell us all about them.Even though I never met them, my father has told their stories so many times I can repeat them verbatim.The next year, he died, just a month shy of his 50th wedding anniversary, and after that, my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s grew more apparent.My father and aunt had hard decisions to make about her care.