My maternal grandmother's Alzheimers and dementia has spiraled downhill fairly quickly in the last few months. Until this week, my grandfather has been Grandma's caretaker at their home. This week, a few final events forced my grandfather to put Grandma in an Alzheimer's home.
My mom's family is large and I am one of 24 grandchildren, not counting the grandchildren's spouses, and all of the new great-grandchildren. Nevertheless, my grandparents have always been a constant in my monumental childhood events.
When I was younger, I used to spend an occasional weekend with them and I remember a few key things:
1. Grandpa always had a pack of plain M&Ms ready for me (and any other child!) on my way out the door.
2. I got to eat these great fried chicken patty sandwiches for lunch.
3. My grandmother loved to play a domino game called Spinniker and was always thrilled to have me as a willing game player since Grandpa didn't love to play with her.
My grandparents used to love to drive the countryside and made it a habit to visit me in college for the mere purpose of taking me out to lunch. My college roommate enjoyed their visits because it meant a sure thing: Grandma and Grandpa always came bearing a shoebox full of cookies and Grandpa's famous fudge.
And to this day, I have colleagues that bug me about my grandfather's caramel corn. He is a master chef in the caramel corn department and still enjoys making batches to share with anyone that will eat it.
I don't mean to speak in the past tense for this post. My grandmother and grandfather are still alive and will continue to create memories. Life will be different for them and I feel the most for my grandfather. I know this decision was extremely hard and I hate the thought of him at home without Grandma by his side after 67 years. Grandpa can visit whenever he wants and take Grandma out of the home for dinner or outings at anytime.
A photo of us over Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma (gotta love the good-ole self-timer!):
And one of six-month-old Palmer with Grandma and Grandpa: