If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry: Dealing with Alzheimer’s | By Danielle Herzog
I recently wrote about how my grandmother is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. She still recognizes people she cares about, but the rest of the details of life are very fuzzy. Take for example, my father. He has been bald since he was 24 years old. Just last week she asked him, “John, when did you get a haircut?” and my patient father answered, “A little while ago.” My parents have figured out what it takes to live with someone with Alzheimer’s – patience and a good sense of humor. Because if you don’t laugh, you will cry.
My grandmother’s dementia just recently came on in the past few months. Until then, she was a whip of a woman. Seeing that she has lived with my family since before I was born, the stories are endless. From her ironing clothes in just a bra when my friends came over, to her finding out that I lost my virginity by reading my private journal, there have been many funny, painful and embarrassing moments.
My grandmother’s dementia just recently came on in the past few months. Until then, she was a whip of a woman.
Now she is in the hospital dealing with serious health issues and I’m off to NY to be with her. One minute she is up talking about The View and the next minute she is going into kidney failure. The roller coaster ride continues. And just when I think she has faded forever, I see a glimpse of the woman I know inside of her. I hear her voice say, “Danielle?” in that slightly-Italian accent and I know that she remembers. She remembers smiling her amazing smile at me when I got married, and she remembers beating me all those times in Scrabble when I let her use Spanish words to win, and she remembers that she is loved, deeply loved by a girl who still thinks of her as the most amazing grandma on the planet.
About Danielle Herzog
Danielle Herzog is a native New Yorker who is now living the Midwest life as a somewhat sarcastic woman on the never-ending quest to be hip. She’s a writer, mother, wife, and a member of one ridiculously large Italian family. It’s full of meatballs on Sunday, and eavesdropping on each other’s conversations. The stuff all good families are made of. Danielle has been freelance writing for over ten years, including writing restaurant reviews, style reports, and now parenting. She’s had the pleasure of writing for Omaha World-Herald’s Momaha site, as well as The Reader and Omaha City Weekly. Additionally, she has written for Demand Studios, The Northern Virginia Journal and Dish Omaha. If it is part of her life, she’ll share it. And if it isn’t, she’ll just change the names to protect the not-so-innocent. To read more about Danielle’s adventures, check out her blog, Martinis and Minivans, at www.martinisandminivans.com.
# # #
Learn more about the Write Now project and how you can submit works for publication.