Please let her remember she’s Maw Maw
She smiled the second I walked into her hospital room. Unsure of why I had just popped in, she grinned from ear to ear...for about five seconds.
Then it was a blank stare. She kept looking at me with confusion. She even squinted her eyes at me as if trying to figure out who I was.
Leaning closer to her face so that she could get a better look at me, she kept that same blank expression.
“Do you know who I am,” I asked, pointing to my chest. “What is my name? Come on, you know it.”
It was still that same stare. And it was a dead calm in the room.
She shook her head. She never said my name. She made no noise.
I kept pushing her to say my name out loud, but it was no use. She didn’t seem to know who I was.
I slumped back in the chair next to her. Fighting back the tears that I really wanted to let go.
My Maw Maw had no idea who I was that night. And the silence continued in the room before I told her I loved her and walked to my car alone.
Maw Maw was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few months ago. With a multitude of other health problems mounting on her, it seems to have kicked into high gear this week.
When I got to the safety of my car that night, I continued to look at a nearby street light. And then I just broke down, crying to myself in the hospital parking lot.
I didn’t quite know how to deal with the fact that my grandmother, my Maw Maw, had no idea who I was. The fact that she wouldn’t even say my name sent me over the edge.
That night she kept calling me her sister’s name. Jamie never crossed her lips. For all I know, it never entered her mind.
I have always heard about other people having Alzheimer’s, but I never thought my own grandmother would get it. It was always a disease other people got but surely not my family.
Even when I heard the diagnosis a few months ago, I never fully grasped what was really going on. I never did until that evening at the hospital.
My Momma reminded me that there would be good days and bad ones. You just have to take each one as it comes.
Fortunately, I called her on the telephone last night and she knew who I was. Although she could barely hear me over the line, she at least said my name. I was Jamie again.
I can only pray that she will never truly forget me. I hope that I am nestled in the back corner of her mind even on those bad days.
I hope she remembers the day I came home from the hospital, wrapped in a blanket in the middle of an ice storm.
I hope she remembers the way it felt to watch me walk those first shaky steps or to whisper my first word.
I hope she remembers the tug on her pants when I was only about as tall her knee.
I hope she remembers pushing my bike off as I attempted to ride without my training wheels.
I hope she remembers the first time she spanked me and all those times she sent me to grab a switch.
I hope she remembers sneaking me a peppermint during church.
I hope she remembers flushing my many goldfish.
I hope she remembers slapping a gallon of Vicks rub over my chest at the first sign of a cold.
I hope she remembers going over spelling words after supper.
I hope she remembers dancing with me in the kitchen.
I hope she remembers all those little things that grandbabies share with their grandparents.
But most importantly I hope she remembers that I am Jamie, her granddaughter.
And as I got off the phone with her the other night, that was my final thought.
Even if its buried deep in her memory, I hope that she will always remember she is a Maw Maw.
I slept a little better that night knowing it was a good day.
And I pray there are more to come.