Yesterday 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