Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cherished Moments

This is not going to be a typical post from me.  I know you are probably wanting a good story about Grandma.  I could tell you about my grandmother looking like a gnome and picking up pecans everywhere in the neighborhood.  Simply, because she has this "squirrel" mentality to collect all the pecans she can and store them for the winter.  She has even went out in the street because a few fell in the middle of the road.

This blog is more about what moments like this is all about.  We are born and raised and our parents take care of us day after day.  Then one day, we leave home and our parents have to take care of their parents.  I know you know all this.  But here is my point....I know how lucky I am to have both of my grandmothers even if one is crazy and the other one...well, I will just are lucky to get a word in with her.  And she may be small in stature but her faith is huge!

Back to my point, cherish the moments you have with your grandparents, parents, or any family member.  Cherish those memories when you have to go and find their teeth, because they have no idea what cup they have put them in or what cabinet.  Love the minutes that you sit with them and answer the same question over and over.

I got upset with myself this past week.  I didn't cherish moments with  my grandfather.  I spent time with him.  I would go and talk to him and listen to him go on about World War II, but I took him for granted.  I guess I thought he would live forever.  He was 92 when he passed and what a blessing to have him for so many years in my life.  I never spent the nights with him like I am now with Grandma.  I didn't take him dinners or get on to him for wearing Grandma's teeth to make her mad.  And now, I wish I had spent those moments with him. So, treasure these moments and memories.

I lost a friend this past week.  She was young at 48.  She should have had many, many years to spend with her family, but cancer took her life.  She cherished every last moment with her family.  She made every one of them count.  She didn't let cancer defeat her in any way.  She was in so much pain, but went to a football game to watch her daughter march.  When the doctor's told her that she didn't have much longer, the family loaded up and went to Branson.  Her family cherished every moment.

So, if you are lucky to have a grandparent still living as I am, then go spend time with them and treasure every last minute you have with them.  Believe me, she has been a handful.  And over the years, has said a few things that she probably shouldn't have said to family.  But she is still family.....My family.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Funeral Interruptions

Dementia can remind you of things we take for granted.  For instance, when you go to a funeral, you show respect.  You know that the family is grieving, and you honor them by being silent and show  your support by being there.  Grandma attended a funeral and her dementia took over.

Daddy arrived with her.  I didn't realize he was bringing her to the funeral.  The funeral was for one of our family members, but I just didn't think he would bring Grandma.

It was a nice warm day with a slight breeze.  The cemetery was quite and very peaceful.  The funeral was a simple graveside service.  Grandma wore her best Sunday clothes.  She knew exactly where she was when she arrived.  Not far from the cemetery was the house that she first lived in with my grandpa.  She made comments about going home and pointing to her old home when she arrived.  She even told Daddy that he took the wrong street.  She was directing him to her old house and didn't realize that she was attending a funeral.  I guess she thought we had finally giving in and taken her home.

She arrived and immediately recognized Molly and I.  She got out and wanted to know why we were at the cemetery.  I told her who had died and that she could sit under the tent.  The immediate family had not arrived at this point.  She sat on the front row.  She started asking again..."Who's funeral?"  "Was she married?"  "Did she have kids?"  I patiently answered her questions and tried to get her to talk softly.

The family started arriving.  Daddy was getting ready to perform the ceremony.  I made Grandma move to the second row under the tent.  At first, she refused because the second row was in the sun, but she finally gave in and moved to the back row.  When the row didn't fill up the funeral director motioned for me to fill in the seat beside Grandma.  He must have known that she was going to be a handful.

Daddy started reading the obituary.  He basically spoke two sentences when Grandma started.

"Speak up, Honey!  No one can hear you."

Daddy kept on talking.  He was less than 10 feet away from us under the same tent at the graveside.

I hushed Grandma.

She got it out one more time....."Honey, you need to speak up. No one can hear you."

Daddy giggled and said ok.

He started back and she interrupted for a third time.

"Speak up! Honey we can't hear you."

At this point, Daddy chuckled and let everyone know that was his momma.  Leave it to my grandma to speak up and interrupt daddy while he is preaching a funeral.

She continued to moan and mumble.  I told her to hush, and patted her on the back to distract her. I think I told her to shut up at one point.  I was embarrassed but I knew the family realized that I was handling her.  She finally settled down towards the last 10 minutes.  Unfortunately, the funeral was about 30 minutes long.

My Uncle R.H. was there.  Uncle R.H. looks very similar to my Grandpa.  She had made many comments to Ellis being at the funeral and standing over by the casket.  I reminded her several times he wasn't Ellis. He came over to hug her neck and I said "This is Uncle RH." She looked at me and had a frown "I know RH. You don't have to tell me."  Uncle RH and I giggled.

After he left, I directed her towards the truck.  She looked at me and wanted to know when they were going to serve the food at this reunion.  I just shook my head and told her soon.

She went and got in the truck.  Daddy took her to eat with the family.  He said she ate like a horse at the family's house.  She ate everything on her plate and asked for dessert. They had a good visit for about an hour.  They got in the truck to head home.  She looked over at him and wanted to know "How much did you have to pay for all that food?"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

False Teeth Hunting Season Open

After my conference, I had planned on staying with Grandma, but I was wiped out.  So, I called Daddy to tell him that I wasn't going to make it.

Dad asked, "C, where are you?  I mean which way are you going home?  Oh well, never mind."

Don't you love it when someone starts to ask you a question, then they expect the worse, and answer their own question?

I replied "I'm still close by if you need me to do something."

"Well, she has lost her teeth again.  I stayed last night and put them up when she went to bed.  I left out early, and she got back up and came in and got them."

"Ok.  I will go teeth hunting."

I showed up at Grandma's house 30 minutes later to find her sitting in the kitchen reading the phonebook again.  I don't really understand the phonebook reading scenario.  Probably, something I need investigate.  :)

I told her I was there to find her teeth.  She said she didn't realize they were lost.  Then she touched her mouth and realized she didn't have them in her mouth.

So, I started hunting.  When Grandma hides her teeth, you have no time to spare.  You have to get over their within the next day to find them.  It is like knowing that big buck is close and  you have to get to your deer stand as quick as possible because he is close by and you are going to miss him.  Well, hunting Grandma's teeth is similar.  You know she has hid them somewhere close because she came in the middle of the night and got them.  She didn't leave the house, so, they have to be in the bedrooms or bathroom.  Those teeth are hid close by and you have to get to your hunting station quick or you are going to miss them.  Because if you wait two or three days, Grandma will come in and find her teeth and hide them somewhere else and you will have to hunt harder for that big set of teeth that you are needing to find!

I hunted all over the bedroom.  I found sacks of books and magazines stuffed under the bed along with several kitchen items.  She had also hid the cassette tapes in various  spots in the bedroom.  Heaven forbid, someone steal Conway Twitty singing I'll Fly Away.  I searched both bedrooms and then the bathroom.  She came in several times to tell me to leave her stuff alone.

I finally found them in a cup in the bathroom cabinet.  I had to reach in the back of the cabinet to get them out.  I scraped my arm on a wire or something.  So, I had went into the thicket and got the prize and came out with just a small scratch.

She came in and wanted to know if I knew where Gary was.  I told her that he was at work.  She said she needed to call him.  I gave her teeth to her.  She was glad I found them.

We went in the kitchen to call Daddy.  She picked up the phone and wanted to know where he was.  He assured her that he was coming in as soon as he got off work.  She was a little lost when she talked to him.  She thought she was in Dermott.  Dermott is where she grew up.  Daddy reassured her that she was at home.  I told her to tell him that we found her teeth.  She looked at me confused.  She said "Carole Anne has something to tell you."

Here is how that conversation went:

"I found her teeth."
Daddy:  "Great"
Grandma (not on the phone..listening to me talk): "You found my teeth.  Well, where are they?"

Daddy laughing.

"In your mouth, Grandma."
"Oh my goodness.  They sure are."
Daddy was still laughing.
I was shaking my head.

Using Up Electricity

I had to be at a conference on Monday.  So, I stayed with Grandma Sunday night.  I had it in my mind that I would get a good night of sleep if I was to go on over and go to bed.  Of course, what I want to happen and what happens with Grandma are never the same.

Grandma was sitting in the living room reading the phone book when I arrived.  She was glad to see me.  She started in on how hard she worked all day.  I asked her what did she do.  She couldn't remember.  Then she looked at me and wanted to know where her sisters, Bessie Dee and Rosie Lee, were.  I told her they were at home.  She called me Audrey, her late sister.  I corrected her two or three times on who I was.  She told me to quit playing silly games with her.  I finally gave in and started calling her Lucille.

I took her teeth and hid them in the bathroom for her.  She wanted me to quit playing games and go to bed.  I said ok.  I went to the back bedroom and started getting ready for bed.  She came in there and wanted me to come and listen to the birds.  They were driving her crazy and she couldn't get them to shut up.

I went in the kitchen and didn't hear any birds.  She told me to be quiet.  Then I heard a beep.  She said there is one.  I told her again I didn't hear any birds.  I heard the beep again.  She perked up and said crazy bird is beeping.  I realized it was the house alarm that was beeping.  The battery was slowly going dead and it starts beeping like a fire alarm when that happens.  I told her there was no birds.  She said I had to do something to get rid of them.  So, I went over to the door and acted like I was swatting at them and told her to go to bed.  You can wear yourself out swatting at imaginary birds.

I finally made it to the bedroom to lay down.  She came in several times.  She came in once to tell me that Gary did not tell her that I was coming.  It is rude for someone to come and stay at her house and not let her know in advance.  She wanted to know who gave me permission.  I told her Gary gave me permission.  She asked if he had any manners.  I just chuckled to myself.

She came in again and wanted me to turn everything off.  She could hear everything in her room.  So, I turned the muted iPad off and the lights.  She said that was much better.  Not only can my grandma see the electricity being used, but now she can hear it!  

I finally dozed off around 11:30 or so.  I heard her around 12:30 yelling in the hallway.  

"Ellis, turn everything off and go to bed."  (Ellis was my grandfather.)
"Ok" was my reply.

Grandma's AC went out last week.  Probably from the fact, she turns if off and on all day long.  So, I had to sleep all night with out it.  I had the ceiling fan going and the two extra fans in the room running.  I had all three on for noise to drown out Grandma and to keep me cool.  Some time in the night, Grandma managed to come in the room and turn everything off.  I am guessing she didn't see me in the bed.  I woke up around 3:00 sweating to death.  Ninja Grandma has returned.

I headed out the next morning around 7:30.  Grandma's door was open and she was sleeping away.  I told my dad later all the stuff she did all night.  He commented that all she had done that morning was sleep.  Well, of course, she is sleeping.  If you stayed up all night worrying about all the electricity your granddaughter is using in the back room and turning off every little thing, wouldn't you sleep your days away too!