With Christmas fast approaching I have been doing a lot of thinking and most of that thinking has been centered on my grandmother, the only living grandparent I have left. Why? You may ask. Well, for those of you who do not know, I have a grandmother who suffers from Dementia. The disease began to takeover her around my sophomore year of high school and has progressed greatly up until now. She is at the point where she can’t walk or speak much, but occasionally she’ll mention someone’s name or say something that makes sense. It definitely has not been easy watching this happen to her and at the beginning I spent a lot of time crying over it, but as it has progressed I have come to terms with the illness.
The Christmas season can make it especially hard. As a child my family and I would spend many Christmas mornings with her, as she would come to see what gifts Santa had brought my sister and me. Then, on Christmas night, my whole mother’s side of the family would gather at her house to have dinner and open presents. It was always a lot of fun and many memories were created. As Dementia slowly took my grandmother, Christmas changed. She no longer lived in her house and having her come over for Christmas breakfast just became too hard and too dangerous. Now, it has gotten to the point where she can’t come out at all and she doesn’t even know what day it is or that it’s even special. My family and I are trying to create new memories though by visiting her on the special days and making the most of them. It definitely has not been easy, but we do not know how much time we may have left with her.
I am not sharing this story to make anyone feel sympathetic for me, but I am sharing it in order for others to realize how much family should mean to them, especially at Christmas. Some of you may be in the same boat as I am, and I feel for you, and others, your grandparents may be perfectly well. I just ask that no matter what, you hug and love on your loved ones as much as you can this Christmas season and everyday, for we are not guaranteed another second in this world. I have been surrounded by a lot of loss lately and it just makes me so much more grateful for my family and the time I have to spend with them. So this Christmas season try to mend broken relationships and just give as much love as you can to those close to you.
In honor of Joyce Baughan (my grandmother) and in loving memory of Dr. Bill Bosher (a great man and friend).