Wednesday, July 14, 2010


My grandmother has Alzheimer's disease.  We moved her closer to us last year so that she could be surrounded by people who love her and care for her.  I am glad that we did that so we can be with her for the last years of her life.  Her disease is progressing rapidly.  She still knows who I am but cannot always remember my name.  Her health is declining rapidly also because of the disease, the brain forgets to tell the other body parts to function.  She recently had a heart attack and has been having mini strokes, her kidney's are shutting down, she never feels hungry and is freezing when it is 35 out.  Her exercise in non-attachment is easy, she doesn't even remember what she owns or why it is or was important to her.  This is the one good thing about being 87 and having Alzheimer's, the material things that used to be so important don't matter.  Her daily ritual of cleaning her house top to bottom is no longer important.  Her hair, make up and outfit when she goes out is not important (she doesn't go anywhere anymore).  She gets more joy out of seeing my mom, myself and my three children then she does out of the objects or routines that used to matter.  I am happy for this.

My exercise in non-attachment is quite difficult.  I lived with my grandmother for a long time while I was little.  I am the eldest grandchild born to a teenage mom.  I called both my mom and my grandmother mommy for a long time.  In essence I have two mothers.  I am very lucky to have this experience.  It was my grandmother who potty trained me, taught me how to tie my shoes, taught me how to bake and who I talked to about boys.  When I was little she and my grandfather moved back to the Nova Scotia where my grandfather was from.  I would spend entire summers there as a child and loved every minute of it.  My heart broke every time I had to say good bye.  I feel like this is what is happening again.  I knew then as a child and even when I would visit as a young adult that I would see them again, talk on the phone to them again but I still cried.  Now I know that I won't see her physically again in this life, that she is with me in who I am, how I look and partially for who I am but it is still hard. 

How do I exercise non-attachment to a woman who helped raise me, who I love so much?  I have meditated, I have thought about it during my physical yoga practice, I have thought deeply about it, and now I write.  I know that I don't have to let go just yet but the time is coming.  I want to have it some what resolved so that I can let her go be at peace.