Yesterday I witnessed what may be the sweetest thing I have ever seen. It really restored my faith in true love.
So I went to a birthday party for my old friend Polly at her mother’s house, about 45 minutes from hometown. Her extended family and I were the only guests in attendance. Her family is a little odd, I won’t lie… but they’re a good time and they can keep the conversation flowing. And a few years ago her grandmother was diagnosed with some pretty serious Alzheimer’s, so as you can imagine things can get a little crazy.
I was around Polly’s Grandparents growing up enough for them to remember me before her Grandmother was diagnosed. The past several times her Grandmother has seen me, she hasn’t remembered me, which I wouldn’t expect her to and we go through the same old song and dance every time. I introduce myself, tell her where I’m from and who my parents are, where I live now and what I do.. yada yada yada. We did that this time too, but I did notice that she’s gotten a lot worse than the last time I saw her.
She’s now struggling to keep her train of thought, on more than one occasion yesterday she started talking about driving or her family and it ended in her saying how much she loves her cat, that she also can’t remember the name of. She has a good spirit, she knows that she’s sick and that losing her thoughts are a part of her illness, but I feel bad for her because you can tell she gets frustrated.
Her family has some fun with her, because she’s to the point where she’s almost like a toddler. So they’ll ask her what color things are, what their names are, etc etc.. They all take turns “Grandma sitting” and even got tattoos on their ankles of “xoxo” in her handwriting.
Polly’s Grandfather, however, is still well and takes care of her Grandmother. Although they don’t live in a nursing home, it reminded me of The Notebook, in the sweetest way. Her Grandmother was talking about how she’d love to have more independence, but she can’t, someone is always with her. They asked her if she knew who took care of her and she looked at her husband. And she said, “This man. This wonderful loving, smart, very intelligent, kind man takes care of me.” Then she looked at him and said, “Are you my wife?” He giggled and said, “Yeah, I’m your wife.” Then she asked him if he was black. Which had us all rolling around on the floor, because he is certainly not black. He asked her if he looked black and she said, “Well yes, but you’re a lovely beautiful black woman.”
After everyone took Grandma inside, he proceeded to tell me about how he gets a tickle out of her every night because she doesn’t think they should be sleeping in the same bed. To her, they aren’t married yet and she has hired Polly as their wedding planner, but she introduces herself with his last name. Then he told a story about how a little over a year ago she was asking to drive, so even though he was scared because she can no longer read the word STOP and doesn’t know that a red light means stop, he let her drive down country roads just to make her happy. The first thing that went through my head was what if they drove off a cliff or straight into a tree, but I can’t imagine him minding if she got them both into a car accident if it brought her a little bit of happiness.
I don’t know why, but hearing all of this and watching them warmed my heart. It’s probably a rare occasion to find a guy now-a-days that would stick with you in your old age through all of this when he is perfectly healthy and lucid, but I just kept thinking about how much he must really love her.