I believe in hope. Hope that not all is forgotten. Hope that our experiences, memories, and loved ones will always be remembered.
My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago. She lives in Argentina and we visit once a year. We don’t see her that often and the distance helped to cover up the signs, but every year her condition worsened. It began to show and my family and I began to notice. She would forget to call on Sundays, the weekly scheduled date since before I can even remember, she would ramble on the phone, and forget how to say things. She couldn’t express herself anymore and we stopped speaking the same language. I would get so frustrated, angry at myself that I couldn’t understand her. Her birthday cards stopped coming. She couldn’t make a trip all the way up to visit, but I could always count on a card wishing me the best.
I refused to believe she forgot my birthday. I refused to believe she would continue to forget; forget me, forget my brothers, and even my mother, her own daughter, her first born. Out of denial and rejection of what was ultimately bound to happen sprung my hope.
My grandmother can no longer speak to say how much she loves us, or how much we have grown since the last year, but deep down I know she recognizes our family. Our connection is more than just a memory. She can not label us correctly, but certain incidents give us hope.
Last year, we visited and my mother took my grandmother for a walk around the central park plaza in her rural hometown. They walked for hours, not speaking a word. They finally came back hand in hand and my grandmother refused to let go. She knew who my mother was, she knew my mother couldn’t stay, she knew it was her daughter and didn’t want to let her go. My grandmother knew inside it was my mother, that she was a part of her, her own. Though her mind is failing, her heart is strong and if even for a second, through the bond between mother and daughter memory returns and hope is not lost.
I can only hope. Hope that we will not all be forgotten. Hope that someday in the future, in this life or next, my grandmother will completely remember. Remember me and all those who love her.
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