Saturday, February 10, 2007

If I lived to be 100...

If I lived to be 100, would I rather have a sound mind or a fit body? Well, the women in my family live to be old--the hardy Scandinavian heritage showing. My grandmother died at the age of 87. Millie's final years were spent fighting senile dementia (she was never officially diagnosed with Alzheimers). She broke a hip a few years before her death, and resisted therapies and the doctor's suggestions. She had always been a very active woman--gardening, long walks with her dog, strawberry picking in the summer--and as her mind began to be fuzzy, her desire for activity lessened. I really think had her mind been sound, her prognosis toward the end would have been better. I the last six months of her life, Millies spine compressed and my father was forced to place her into a Medicare facility to provide her with appropriate care.

I want my mind to be sound at 100. I want to know the love of my family and be aware and involved with others. I don't want to forget the people that are important to me, and pick up a book and read for enjoyment. The tragedy of my grandmother lives in my mind. A feisty Irish/Norwegian woman, with a sense of humor, strong sense of family, a compulsive reader, was reduced to confusion in her final years. The last time I saw her, in December of 2002, she called me "Mona" the name of her youngest sister. She knew I was her granddaughter, but couldn't remember how. A moment of clarity bubbled through when I explained I was her son's daughter. She looked at me clearly and said, "ah, yes, from his first marriage."

And at that same visit, I had brought my daughter Sophia, age 9 months, to spend her first Christmas with her great-grandmother. My father told me that for months afterward, my grandmother talked about that beautiful baby. Some of my favorite pictures of my grandmother are from that visit, watching my grey haired grandmother and my tiny brown haired child touching hands and hearts.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Its a strange thing what the can do to a persons memory. We are dealing with some of this with my FIL. Very sad. DH's grandmother is 98 and sharp as nails. Just cant see

Sounds like you have some great memories of her.