As of this writing, my Grandma is currently staying in a hospital. My mother received word that Grandma fell very ill, and she had been taken to the hospital for treatment. Her condition has gone up and down over the past few days, and the family believes she is on the verge of passing away. Therefore, I have been thinking about what she has meant to me over the years. I cannot imagine what life might be like without her, and I am sure that her passing will leave behind a void that can never be refilled.
Grandma was one of my favorite relatives growing up. I always enjoyed it when one of my family’s trips involved traveling to Grandma’s farm. It was a refreshing change from what I was accustomed to, even though it was only a short distance away from my house in a small village. The atmosphere of the farm harkened back to a time before I was born. In the house next to the barn, the television in the living room had only four or five clear channels, the only telephone in the house was an old rotary-dial model, and the noise on the farm was mostly at a pastoral level, broken only by the sounds of tractors and other machinery and the bleating of sheep. The television was eventually supplemented with a satellite dish which provided more channels to watch, and the sheep passed away, but other than these details, little else changed over the years.
Grandma herself is one of the kindest people I have ever known. She always greeted me warmly and made sure that my cousins and I had plenty of things to keep us busy. Grandma treated all of her grandchildren the same and loved us all equally. She let us go on hayrides around the farm and took us out in the garden with her. She also had my mother, aunts, and uncles perform a variety of chores on the farm including baling hay, growing pumpkins for sale on Halloween, and shearing the sheep for their wool. As my cousins grew older, they were charged with performing many of the same chores that their parents had done before. They have done so admirably and seem to greatly enjoy doing them. Grandma carried on my grandfather’s philosophy of hard work which produced many benefits for the family, a discipline which I have always appreciated.
In recent years, Grandma’s mind has deteriorated to a great extent. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years back, and this has severely affected her quality of life. My family first noticed the effects of her altered mind long before the diagnosis. When the family learned she had Alzheimer’s, my parents and relatives took precautions to ensure that she had a safe lifestyle. They hired a person to be with my Grandma for part of her day and then one member of the family would come to be with her switching with other members in alternating shifts. She became combative to a small extent and often complained about how the family was controlling her life too much, but we all knew that it was for the sake of her health that we were doing these things..
After she became more ill, it became too much for the rest of the family to keep Grandma comfortably housed on the farm. It was then decided that she would be taken to a nursing home where she would be able to live out the remainder of her life in comfort. We visited her when possible. It was good to see her every time I was able to do so, but her mind had clearly affected her life to the point that she often did not recognize me from our previous visits, even if they were only a short time apart. She mostly kept to herself during our visits, but she always seemed happy to have people who cared about her being with her and taking her away from her normal routine for a little while.
I have loved Grandma for many years. Along with the rest of the family, I have seen her condition deteriorate. But I still love her regardless of whether or not she remembers me on a given day. I hope she will be able to overcome her current circumstances while she is in the hospital, but if the time has come for her to pass away, I hope she will be able to do so without any pain. Regardless of how she fares, I will always retain my memories of the happy times we had together.