A long death

My father’s parents are getting older. His dad, Poppop Len, is in an assisted living home due to old age and lack of mobility. He is 83 years old. I believe that Poppop Len has most of his faculties in check and I know his brain is still working, as he was making jokes and making my dad and I chuckle when we visited him in New York. I hope he’s enjoying his twilight years.

From left to right-Dad, Poppop Len, and me. We are all smiling.

My dad’s mom, known as Mommom to my brothers and I, is a different story. She is 84 years old. We also visited her. She is also in New York but at a different place. I didn’t recognize her when she was wheeled in the room. Both Poppop Len and Mommom have lived in New York ever since my aunt moved out there. My grandparents willingly moved to New York, little did they know how poor the retirement service are and my aunt isn’t really involved in their lives significantly anymore.

I gave Mommom some chocolate because she still has a sweet tooth. My mom had also been on this trip to New York, and I forgot to mention that she wasn’t allowed to see her father in law because of a strict two person visitation rule. She was allowed to give him a hug and then had to sit in the waiting room. Sorry, I will get back to the current point.

She explained why Mommom’s face was droopy, likely a result of a stroke. She is battling dementia. She was so quiet when we saw her.

I remember how she used to be before moving, very sure of herself. Her dark blonde hair used to be in a honeycomb style. Now it is wispy and white. Her brain is not completely gone, since she still showed a desire for candy. But she is slowly dying, and this fact hit me hard when we sat down with her. I felt guilty because she is wasting away in a different state and I could do nothing about it, I know it’s a part of life but I can’t be there for her. I was crying hard and said my allergies were bad to soothe Mommom’s worries in case she still had control over her emotions. I didn’t want her to think I was sad.

My dad was crying too. He rarely cries, so I knew he was sad. He apologized to me and said he wished he was able to let me see her before the disease got this bad. He must have felt guilty too. They lived so far away, so it was difficult to visit. It was not a practical thing to go visit my grandparents and cousins regularly.

Right before leaving, I did the one thing I thought about in the past. I wanted to tell loved ones “I love you” before they die. So, with tears in my eyes I said “I love you, Mommom” as did my dad and mom.

From left to right-Mommom, myself, and Dad. Both my dad and I have red eyes from tears.

Dementia is a cruel mistress that snatches people and kills them slowly. I wish more research could be done to help prevent or at least slow down the progression of it.