I remember going on day trips to explore a new city, going out for lunch or heading to the Mary Maxim store to pick out a needle point pattern. When you taught me how to sew or bake a new recipe.
I remember traveling across Canada with you on grand adventures. Driving through provinces to visit family and explore our beautiful country.
I remember the feeling that I could do anything, reach any of my goals because I had a team cheering behind me, and you were an important part of that.
I remember driving with you to the store and me having to do up your seat belt because you had no concept of anything that was not in your direct line of sight in front of you. And saying “The belt is just over your shoulder” would confuse you.
I remember driving past a funeral home with you, and you saying “I will be there soon” with tears in your eyes. Because you knew, you knew that your mind was betraying your body a little more every day.
I remember the bittersweet day of getting my first car, because it had been yours and you could no longer drive it. And getting my first home, because it had been yours too and living independently was no longer a safe option for you.
I remember when Monkey was born, and that I had to stay in the hospital for 5 weeks. I was so worried that something would happen to you during this time and that you would never get a chance to meet your great-grandchild. When we were released from the hospital, we did not drive home, we drove straight to you so you could hold your grandbaby’s baby.
I remember keeping track in a notebook of the things you did, visitors you had and words you said. That way, we could refer to it to make one-sided conversation when we visited you. I still have the date of May 18 on my whiteboard in the office… that was the last day I heard the words “I love you” from you.
I remember those glimmers, those smiles or a flash in your eyes that told me you were still with us. You were still “Grandma”, even though you could no longer walk or communicate with us in the way we were used to.
I remember doing research and feeling hopeful that even though Alzheimer’s Dementia was stealing you away little by little, there were things I could do to help you cope and help me better understand how to make this transition less stressful on both of us.
Dementia comes in many forms and as an individual progresses through the disease, their personality can change or they can have trouble communicating. Dementia Friends Canada have a website that is easy to navigate and allows you to learn about the signs and symptoms of dementia – remember, early diagnosis can make all the difference to the outcome. With 3 in 4 people knowing someone with dementia, we are all touched by this condition. Know the signs and become a Dementia Friend today. The more you know about dementia, the more prepared you will be to help someone with dementia live better. You can also connect with Dementia Friends Canada on Facebook and Twitter.
I remember all the good times, the happy times, the fun times and the hard times. And I love you through all of them.
Disclosure: This post has been generously sponsored by Dementia Friends Canada, the opinions and language are my own.