Frond Memories

palm-frondYesterday we drove down the coast for a bittersweet day trip to Santa Barbara. We went to say farewell to my sister and brother-in-law who are moving back East in a few days time, and to squeeze in some precious memory-making with my grandparents. I guess it’s par for the course with this stage of life, but I find myself thinking about time a lot more than I used to. Not so much the tangible ticking of a second-hand on a clock, but the precious fleeting moments we call life. And memory. Memories that we collect to hold all these moments close.

After my grandmother’s stroke this past Christmastime, her Alzheimer’s really started to set in. It has been heartbreaking to see dementia cause her to worry and becomes paranoid about things that should not cause her fear. Her short-term memory is deteriorating quickly and because of this she repeats herself almost constantly; forgetting that she just told us something, and therefore retelling it to us over and over.

We know that we don’t have forever, but for now, we are thankful that she still has a good grip on her long-term memory. She is soothed through storytelling, and we do our best to help keep her spirits up by asking her to share her memories from the past. Memories about holding her grandchildren for the first time, of funny antics from my childhood, and further back…meeting my grandfather for the first time (on the boardwalk in New Jersey), silly recollections from her first year as a newlywed, and as a new mother so many years ago. But most of all, stories about love. Love is the common theme that weaves together the tapestry of her memories; brightening so many of the shadows cast by her disease.

Despite the aches and pains of age, and the changing landscape of her mind, she still has love. So for now, I feel truly lucky to be able to listen as an ocean’s worth of loving memories washes over her…even if that means hearing the same stories on repeat…like a tide washing the shore clean again and again. These times we spend together now, will become the memories that I may one day be reciting to my future grandchildren. Memories of love. They are treasures to me, far more precious than any other.

I hope you will have a weekend full of beauty and memory making ahead of you. xo Ez

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7 Comments

  1. Ivana / / Reply

    What beautiful words and sentiment. This will stay with me – thank you.

  2. Laurie / / Reply

    What a beautiful way to describe your feelings on this subject. I loved when my grandparents shared about their past and yes, we heard them over and over too. I wish they were still here to go over it once again. You’re so right about love being the tie that binds. Families are so precious and really all we have that can be called ours. Now that we are getting to the possibility of being grandparents I see that we all come full circle. We will probably be sharing these same things with our future grandchildren. Thanks for such a lovely post. It was bittersweet and yet so uplifting. Enjoy your time together this weekend.

  3. Jen@Road Trip Creative / / Reply

    Blah. I’m sorry friend. I know how you feel. My Mom had Parkinson’s towards her end and it was rough A. Just seeing them confused and weirded out is VERY sad and
    B. Selfishly needing them and missing who they once were and what they gave us. I hope you get to visit more often, be in the amazing SB and take more gorgeous pics like this palm leaf. (LOVE this!)! Hope you have a great-restful weekend.

    Jen

  4. Pilbara Pink / / Reply

    Thinking of you and this time. I remember one holiday when we left my grandfather’s place and shortly after I was in tears. Nothing specific has caused me to cry just the realisation of how precious time with him was. My dear husband turned the car around and we spent a few more days with Granddad. Truly time to treasure and soak it in.

  5. Emily / / Reply

    Gosh Ez, it’s so hard to see, isn’t it? My husband’s grandmother has been dealing with Alzheimer’s for the last five years and word retrieval is becoming quite difficult for her. But they’re finding she still loves and remembers how to sing songs and hymns from when she was younger. There are small victories but I hope there is a day when we can treat and cure and prevent this disease. Hugs from Dublin. xx

  6. Anna Allen / / Reply

    My great grandpa had it too. He couldn’t remember me or my brothers and sister, but he remembered my mom. When we would visit him, my mom would go in first, then we’d all go into his room and stand in a line so she could introduce us. Every time, without falter, he would look at us all and say to her, “You have such beautiful children.” I think this went on for about four years. It made the pain of him not remembering us dissipate completely, because he loved us so much even though he couldn’t recall who we were.

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