Our “Moments of Joy” series is a collection of all the wonderful stories about our residents or family members. These stories remind us why we help people with Alzheimer’s and dementia and why we find it so joyful.
Moments of Joy: World’s Greatest Grandpa
As a little girl growing up, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house. Whether it was after school, during the summers or on the holidays, I considered it my home away from home. Both of my grandparents taught me many valuable life lessons, but my grandfather, Poppy, was always the one who took the time to really make sure I understood those lessons.
He was adamant about my education and spent a lot of time helping me with homework, taking me to the library and encouraging me to explore all aspects of my classes at school. Needless to say, he was a role model to me growing up and I still look up to him today. Even though in my eyes Poppy is still that same as when I was ten years old, sadly, in reality he is not. With a variety of health issues and dementia, he is slowly fading out of my world. A couple of months ago his health took a turn for the worse and I thought I was going to lose my beloved grandfather. It was an emotional time for my whole family, but especially for me. As I am the youngest grandchild and the last to graduate from college, I didn’t want him to go quite yet because I hadn’t finished my college degree. I wanted him to hold on till December 14th so I could show him a picture of me in my cap and gown and diploma in hand. I am thankful to say Poppy is still with us and graduation has come and gone. Although temporarily stabilized, Poppy’s health continues to decline. Throughout this journey there have been low points and times of heartache. How have I waded through such difficult times? My family, friends, memories and an understanding heart.
My family is very close and we have grown even closer during this difficult time by lifting each other up emotionally and spiritually. My friends have been there for me just as much as my family. They pray with me, make me laugh and help me reflect on the good times with Poppy. It is hard losing someone who has been such a huge part of your life, whether they have passed on or they don’t know who you are anymore. My journey with Poppy has taught me to channel happy memories and cherish those times we spent together. I have also educated myself on dementia and realize it is a disease that has affected him; he didn’t chose to forget me or where I am in life. Often he will remember me from a different time. Usually he still thinks I am in high school even though I have graduated college and started a job. But, every once in a while I am blessed with a glimpse of the person I remember from my childhood and for moment in time he remembers me too and simply says, “There’s my Aggie granddaughter.”