Saturday 14 October 2017

A Letter To My Grandma

Dear Grandma,

It's been one year yesterday since I cried in the toilet at my job, when my mum told me you'd passed away. I knew you had deteriorated a lot and we knew that you were close to passing, but I think a part of me thought you were going to trooper on for a little bit longer.

I've had to grieve in a different way compared to my Granny. You started to deteriorate when I was too young to remember you pre-dementia. Dementia stole happy future memories from me. As I grew up I was aware that you might never be able to attend my wedding or my graduation as you became more and more house and bed bound.

I became desensitised over time, albeit there were a few occasions that terrified me to my core. The first time that you didn't know who I was, it swore me off of seeing you in the hospital for a while. I don't think I ever prepared myself for when you completely didn't recognise me, at first it was a few seconds and then you'd remember, to then feeling like you were staring right through me, like I didn't exist.

I do have positive memories, but I can't help but associate dementia with those memories. I just wish that there were more, or more that I can remember. I think I struggle sometimes because I would switch my mind off when we'd visit you, because it was easier for me to do that.

You were so sweet and lovely, and I wish I had gotten to know you. Instead of having to ask my mum and other relatives what you used to be like.

I'm not sure about the afterlife, but where ever you are I hope you finally are at rest after your journey with dementia.

My mum misses you a lot, and I've been doing my best to be there for her and be the shoulder she needs to cry on. When I see a photo of you around the house I do get a pang of sadness, there's the photo of you dressed up as Queen Victoria on our wall, and whenever I brush my teeth I see your smile in the reflection of the mirror.

You had quite a life, you'd live in France and learned the lingo, I hear you were a happy and bubbly character. I just wish I got to see you more that way, and got to learn your stories through you. Instead you'd try and remember things, and get them all jumbled up so we couldn't tell what was real and what wasn't.

You were such a strong little lady, you got through so much and were still trooping through. I am thankful that you didn't pass away on my birthday, I hear that was a close call. I just wish you didn't have to of suffered for so long. Even though your passing was sad, it was almost a relief that we didn't have to watch you in pain anymore. My mum says it'd been thirteen years that you had been deteriorating, getting lost, falling over and forgetting simple things.

We wish there had been something we could've done to make you feel better, but dementia at the time was still something not well known. By the time there was more research, it was far too late.

I'm sorry this letter is riddled with dementia, I wish I had something better to say, but this is an honest letter to you.

As I said previously, I'm trying to look after my mum as best I can, I'm plodding along post-university and trying my best to make something of myself. Rosie (our cat) is doing just fine, I'm sure my love of cats stems from you, you were a bit of a crazy cat lady but we loved you for it.

Where ever you are, I hope you're at peace now.

I'm sending you my love.

Lots of love,

Saffron xxxx
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