Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In which I am ... something

So, I'm in a little funk.
Which might be a bit of an understatement, really.
But, regardless, ...

So, I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but my Nana (my dad's mom) has dementia.
I used to be able to say that "She's been diagnosed with dementia." But now, really, it's not just a diagnosis. It's not something that I can just wave away ... as much as I wish that I could.

She's not able to live alone anymore. She lives with one of my uncles and his wife (She really didn't ever have to worry about where to live. If she had rather lived with my dad and his girlfriend, they [or, what really counts, my "stepmom"] were more than willing to have her come live with them, too).

Part of this is just sad ... and life ...

Of course, I'm a rather sentimental idiot person. And it hits me a bit harder at times.

My kids have no memory at all of Nana and Pop-pop's house by the creek and one of the parks in my hometown. Because they've never been there. Ever.
(By the time Bruise and Bucket were even conceived, Nana had sold that [lonely, to her, after Pop-pop's death] place and had moved into her own place in the main city. Bubbles will barely ever even remember THAT house.)

Whereas, so MANY of my childhood memories (especially Christmas Eve memories) revolve around that house.
I mean, it could be worse. Nana promised my cousin, S, that she'd get the house ... and, well, that's obviously not going to be a reality. But I think that S is able to deal with that ... at least, a lot better than I would.

I can be honest that, as much as I LOVE Christmas, since Grandma Darlene passed, it's been different. THEN, after Pop-pop passed (and Nana sold that house), it was even more different. I still love it ... but ... it's just not the same. And I miss that sameness, that consistency of opening presents on the burnt-orange carpeting with a fire in the fireplace, with my dad's-side cousins FINALLY getting there. And racing to the bathroom with Cousin S to try on our new clothes ... and the old green corded telephone ... and ... all these little things.

And it reduces me to tears, missing these times that I took for granted far too much.
I wish that I had thought to take (and develop) pictures of each room, of the outside of the house, of Pop-pop's garden ... and I am so disappointed that I never did.

Though, in my mom's shop/garage, I do have the original kitchen door to Nana's old kitchen (before the remodel). Someday (and Michael is aware of this), I will have a house around it again.
I love that door. It's one of those Dutch-style ones ... where you can open just the top half.
Everyone thought that I was silly/crazy for asking for that door ... but, well, I do love it. ... If it would fit in our house here, I'd have installed it ages ago. ... But it takes me back, just thinking of that door. Nana would open it and check the laundry running on the (enclosed) porch. Or go put the bowls of custard out to cool, sprinkling nutmeg on the tops ...

So, even though my family was quite amused/bemused by my request/demand, I have no regrets at all about it.

But there are things that I wish that I could have done differently or could just have the chance to do again because I miss those times ...

  • When my parents separated, I wish that I had visited Nana and Pop-pop more. Especially when my dad wasn't in town. I avoided him when he visited for a bit, telling him that I had plans or was busy (when it wasn't really true. But, when you're eleven/twelve, how else do you really punish someone who's made it apparent that the effort to be a family with you and your mom isn't worth it? ... So, yeah. But I should have visited Nana and Pop-pop more when he wasn't at their place).
  • I miss going out shopping with Nana. Even just browsing at The Emporium or The Bon Marche or Sears or J.C. Penney ... and most of those stores are getting to the point where they no longer even exist. 
  • I miss being able to talk to Nana and knowing that she'd recall that we even had a conversation the next day/week/month.
  • I miss being able to talk to Nana on the phone and that she'd be able to hear me/recognize my voice. Now, even though my kids and I are the only folks who call her "Nana," she can't hear me well enough. But she does love to get a phone call. So I call my Aunt I, talk to HER and give her any pertinent information, and then chat at Nana ... who can't really hear me at all. So now I work hard to send her cards and letters ... so that she can KNOW who's sending her things and what all IS happening.
  • I miss going to the movies or musicals with Nana.
  • I miss going over to play at Nana and Pop-pop's. Riding the tractor/riding lawnmower and helping Pop-pop "drive" (then actually mowing Mrs. Weatherbee's property for Pop-pop) [True story: When I was little, I wanted to get a riding lawnmower so that I could ride it to school. This was before I saw "Can't Buy Me Love." I just really loved driving the riding lawnmower. Way cooler than a bike.], having dinner (always at 6:00pm) with Nana and Pop-pop. Sitting down at their kitchen table on a summer afternoon when Nana would put out a bowl of strawberries, fresh from the garden, sprinkled with sugar, and then pour some cream on top and hand me a spoon.
  • I miss Nana being such a lady so often (dressing up to go out shopping. Getting a wet set every Saturday. Touching up her lipstick) and yet using phrases like, "I've got to use THE POT!" when she needed to answer the call of nature. 
I wore my pair of silver patent-leather Sketchers to bits, really, because my Nana loved me enough to buy them for me. Mostly because, when I unwrapped them (either for my birthday or Christmas), she told me how she'd gone up to Eugene to buy them ... and, since she and I wore the same size shoes, everyone watched as "this old lady tried on all the crazy sneakers."

So, even though they got old and scuffed-up and dirty, I wore them and smile whenever I looked at my feet. Even when one of the girls I considered a friend mocked them. (My answer to her less-than-favorable opinion of my shoes? "My Nana gave them to me.")

Because those shoes were total physical proof of how much my Nana loves me.

Yesterday, while out with Mom, I bought an earring display ... thing. But now I can display both my dangling AND post earrings (I wear a lot of stud-type earrings) ... and I spent around an hour or so putting my earrings on it. At first, I worried that I'd lost one of a favorite pair from Nana ... but, thankfully, I found it in a baggie that I'd had to sweep a lot of the-disaster-that-is-my-make-up-counter into.

Maybe one reason that I'm taking this hard is that, as I've realized, dementia is horrible in the fact that it makes you mourn the person who has it BEFORE they've died. And I don't like that.

Another reason could be that, even though I was sealed to my parents when I was little, my dad left the church totally. Had his records removed and all. And my mom's sealed to my stepdad now. I don't know exactly how things will end up working out. I mean, I have faith that they WILL ... but I'm not so concrete as to the HOW of things ... but, when I sing, as in the Primary song, that "Families can be together forever" and "I always want to be with my own family," I've never considered NOT being sealed to my Nana and Pop-pop. But with my dad having removed himself from the situation ... well, things will work out. I know, I KNOW, that Heavenly Father wants me to be happy. And I can't see a way that I would be happy without maintaining those family links. So I KNOW that something will work out. And that's a definite reason to keep on working on my family history and making sure that all the other temple work gets done ... so that, when the time comes that there IS an answer, I'll be ready. And I can be sealed to Nana and Pop-pop and their families.

So ... yeah. I'm ... yeah.

I'm just living by faith in this. Having the answers NOW (or years ago) would be nice. But, well, it's an opportunity to live by faith, right?

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