Saturday, April 21, 2012
Watching Sharen change with her Alzheimer's has been a difficult and emotional experience. And not at all what we expected. In the reading we did when we first learned that she had Alzheimer's, we expected her to just lose her memory and to have lots of confusion. While that is an aspect of her disease, she has changed so much physically it has really surprised us. When I met my Mother-in-law, it was not unusual for her to jump up and do a little dance, to never sit down and keep doing things, to be totally active. I really thought that she would be the one still going on power walks at age 90. So when Alzheimer's took her activity away, we were shocked.
It started with her vision. She is not blind, in that her eyes still work and she can see, but her brain has stopped processing what she sees, leaving her effectively blind. There is a name for it that I am not currently remembering. So early on, one day she could see and read one of Emma's books, and the next she couldn't see a thing. This was very difficult for her, and frustrating. Due to this "blindness" she started having some accidents and falling. She stopped trusting her spacial ability, and became uncertain in moving around, even with help. Eventually due to her falling, she was placed in a wheel chair. In the year and a half that she has lived at Farmington Square, she has gone from a woman who could move herself around and wanted more physical activity, to someone who cannot even stand on her own. Glenn recently took her to the doctors, and the effect she is having with her eyes is now effecting her whole body. She does not even know how her body is working at this point in time, and has lost the ability to even reach out and grab something most days.
As with all of us, Sharen has good days and bad days. She is still a joy to be around on the good days. Sometimes we arrive there, and she is singing songs for all to enjoy. She loves to see and hear Emma, and always remembers who she is. She doesn't always remember me, but that is okay. She thinks of me as the nice lady who takes care of her Grand-daughter, and I am fine with that. Emma is her happy memory in her later life, and there is such joy in that for her, that she doesn't forget her, and how awesome is that! We can even get her talking on some of her joys form her early childhood, such as her stuffed bear Bruno whom she loved. Sharen loves to have visitors and loves to see her family. We need to remember to take as much time with her as we can while we still have her. Love you Grandma Sharen!
Friday, April 13, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
April 7th was a big and busy day for our family. We started the morning at a Ward Easter Egg Hunt. Emma loved finding eggs with her friends and exploring the yard. She kept looking after she found her dozen, so we ended up hiding a few after she was done. It is wonderful of our friends to offer their yard each year for this activity. And the last two years we have been blessed by the weather.
After Emma found her eggs, we had to cut out early and drive to Otis Oregon for a wedding. Emma's birth parents were getting married at her family's second home. We were pleased that the drive was only two hours, and we took it through the beautiful farm lands of NW Oregon. We took a quick trip into the ward meeting house in Lincoln City to change clothes for the wedding, and then on we went.
Poor Emma was so tired by the time we arrived for the 3:30 wedding ceremony as she did not nap in the car. She recognized the house from our previous visits, and just wanted to play as she had last time. She just didn't understand that we had to wait for the wedding to start and that the dogs were not there this time.
Kristen (E's Birth mom) looked beautiful and David couldn't stop smiling. We were so happy to be included in this special day for them. During the ceremony, after all but the Bride and her Father had arrived, the music paused to change resulting in complete silence. Emma looked at me and said "Momma, are we done yet?" which was heard by everyone. It was a great laugh for us all, but poor Emma was upset that she had everyone's attention. This is such a fun memory to have of this moment.
After the ceremony, we all moved into the meal portion. Emma made a new friend at the wedding named Abigail who was born two days after her in the same hospital. They had such fun dancing and playing together. Emma was also spoiled by her Birth Grandma's who had presents for her. She loves the bubble machine from Grandma Kim and the drum set from Grandma Mel.