Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Today in my Readings in Journalism class, we read a piece called "Memory" about people with Alzheimer's disease, and it struck a cord close to home (is that a mix of two phrases? My brain is fried...). For the past few months, my family has been dealing with the process of my Grandma Wheeler losing her memory. On Monday, she was moved into an assisted living apartment. The only question I have is, where did my Dramma go?
Where is the Canasta playing, wise-cracking, sarcastic Grandma? Where is the Grandma who would tease me about my grades, how I hold my pencil, and my awful first eyebrow plucking experience?
She seems to be lost in her own mind, at times totally fine, and at other times asking my dad's gray-haired friend if he's in 11th grade or 12th grade now.
My parents aren't taking it too well. They don't seem to be able to grasp the idea that the woman who is sitting on that hospital bed, sneakers on, bags packed, ready to escape the place she's essentially been held captive in for over two weeks, is someone with a disease. A horrible disease that makes you forget your sister died, makes you forget where you live, makes you forget who just left the room.
It is someone who, before about a year ago, was completely in control of her life, completely independent, completely lucid. In her mind, she's not old, and her forgetfulness is nothing to be worried about. "Who doesn't forget things?" she always asks us.
While she's forgetting, I'm struggling to remember. I don't want to forget the times that I had with her, singing show tunes while playing double-solitaire, showing her endless pictures, projects, and papers from school, drinking the best milkshakes in the world.
I need to remember, because soon, I'll be the only one with those memories.

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