Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grandma Dorothy

In midst of unemployment stress and waves of panic, I took some time this afternoon to work on Grandma's book, which Mom is taking to her in MN tomorrow. Grandma Dorothy is my mom's mother and she lives in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. She's one of the loveliest people I've ever known, and reading the memoirs/life history Lauren and I wrote about her in January reminded me just how special she is.

So in an effort to be hopeful (and Grandma Dorothy is all about hope), I will jot down a few lessons she has taught me:

1) Always look on the bright side. In the nursing home, she is known for answering the "How are you, Dorothy" question with, "I'm a little better than I was yesterday."

2) There is always someone near you who needs a little love. I will never forget seeing her in the nursing home, early on. She was in a sea of her own dementia, starting to have trouble walking down the halls alone (she liked to have you guide her by the elbow), and trying to adjust to her new life. But she would stop and pat the shoulder or head of each wheelchair-bound, drooling or muttering person in the hallways as she walked by. She always had a kind word for the ones worse off.

3) There's always time for a visit. Grandma Dorothy always has her loved ones in the forefront of her mind. She likes to recount the stories of her life to anyone who will listen. And she's always ready for a visit. She couldn't wait for us to get there, each and every time we visited. One thing I noticed as I read the brief synopsis of her life today was that she never ever seemed too busy to be with us kids. She never brushed us off or said she didn't have time.

4) If your faith changes along the way, God can take it. She has always held onto her faith, though it shifts and changes with time. Grandma prays continually, often now out loud here and there, as if a rolling conversation is going on between her and God.

5) A shoulder rub and a little song will help. Many a bad mood, ache and pain, loneliness, and sorrow were healed by a few minutes with someone rubbing your shoulders and singing a favorite old song. Grandma Dorothy is willing to be cheered, and I love her for that.

So here's a little song you love, Grandma:

I'm forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles in the air
They fly so high
That they touch the sky

Then they burst-- into-- the air

Oh, I'm forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles in the air
I'm forever blowing bubbles
Pretty bubbles, everywhere!

I do feel better.


Susan said...

Allison, I'm so glad you stopped by. I really do miss having a Mom and Grandma around to kiss. Please give Grandma Dorothy a brush of a kiss from me. I am enjoying your blog also. Your unpopular party games are a hoot. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

#3 is one I need to be more mindful of. That is a great list. Filled with the good stuff. She sounds like a gal I would like to know.