A New Loss and A New Joy

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I thought Mama’s words didn’t hurt me anymore. I thought I had adjusted to the things she says through the warped perspective of Alzheimer’s.

It no longer fazes me even when my sweet mama shouts that she hates me. I know it’s the disease talking and not her.

But I was unprepared for what she said last Saturday. And it still brings me to tears when I think about it. It’s another loss that I hadn’t realized I was facing.

Saturday morning we got the exciting news that my daughter-in-law was in labor with our first grandchild! We were beyond excited!

As we prayed, and waited for THE call, I went over to take care of Mama. After I helped her eat and got her all clean and fresh, we sat together on the love seat.

I said, “Mama, my son Allen and his wife are having a baby!”
And Mama answered, “I don’t care.”

Anyone who ever knew my Mom knows that she loved babies more than anything. Even years into her Alzheimer’s she would still light up whenever she saw a baby or a small child and stop in restaurants to smile and chat with the little ones.

I couldn’t believe Mom would say she didn’t care. I tried again. “Mom, my son Allen and his wife are having a baby right now. They’re at the hospital.You’re going to be a great-grandma again!”

And Mama seemed angry and yelled, “I don’t care!”

“But Mom, I’m going to be a grandma!”
“NO!” she hollered, “You CAN’T!”

And I blinked back stunned tears. And I reminded myself that this is not the heart of my mama. She doesn’t know what she’s saying. She doesn’t mean it. This is the disease talking.

But it didn’t help much.

Because I realized I was dealing with another huge loss. Because of Alzheimer’s I was losing the chance to share one of the most precious moments of life with my dear Mom. An event that would have thrilled and delighted my mother in her healthy days.

I went home and cried. And I mourned the shared rejoicing that wasn’t to be.

And then we got THE call. And we went to the hospital. And I held my first grandchild and cried tears of joy. Blissful joy. And for those moments nothing else in the world mattered.

Later in the week I sat by Mama on the love seat again. I showed her pictures of my sweet granddaughter. And Mama said, “Oh my goodness!” And she said, “Cutie.” And my heart took a bit of comfort.

I wish Mama could truly grasp it all. I wish she could join with me in shopping for the baby and babysitting and pouring mushy grandma love all over this precious little one.

But I’m thankful as I remember what a wonderful Grandma she was to all of her grandchildren. What a beautiful example she left me of unconditional, sacrificial love.

And even though Mama shouted that I couldn’t be a grandma, I know I can. Because she showed me how.

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