This post was originally written in Jan of 2015 but has been reworked. I hope you enjoy it
I’m going to tell you a secret. I really had myself stressed out wondering how my mom was going to react once the new grandbabies arrived. She tends to get jealous over the other relationships in my life. My husband and daughter are sometimes forced to walk a very fine line just to keep the peace these days.
It sometimes causes stress, but we just have to remember that it is not the reality. The reality is, she’s afraid of being abandoned no matter what I say or do to show her otherwise. It’s just another part of Alzheimer’s Disease. It has already taken so much from her and now it wants even more.
It is taking her personality and changing it into something unrecognizable. She is confused by her own emotions and this undoubtedly scares the hell out of her. Her memory and behavior have deteriorated and at times she becomes aware of this. The look that comes into her eyes when she has that moment of clarity breaks my heart. The sundowning that used to start around 5 pm every day now begins about 1, due partly to the shorter days of winter, at least this is what I tell myself.
When she first learned that my daughter was pregnant, and then that she was having two, she didn’t seem happy about it at all. I remember one night when I was talking about it, she made the comment “Babies are born every day, it isn’t a big deal”. I was shocked by her lackluster attitude. A sense of foreboding began to come over me.
It was sad to have to hide my excitement. My grandbabies are miracles. Babies we had already given up on. Our baby girl having her own babies was something we were told just wasn’t possible.
Of course, I wanted to talk about it. It’s all I wanted to talk about and she’d roll her eyes and sigh. So I started mentioning them less and less. Then at a certain point, it shifted to my daughter and what she was going through which made life a little easier since she had always had a special bond with her.
The good news is that now that they are here and she can see them, it is not such a scary thought to her. She shops for them, she sews for them, and she talks about them All OF THE TIME and just laughs and smiles.
Of course, now they are two and a half years old and a huge part of our life. If they aren’t here she is asking about them. They run to her with love in their eyes and she answers that look with love of her own for each one. She plays with them, she sings to them, she comes alive for them. It’s an amazing transformation to watch and makes my heart sing.
What surprised me most, though, regarding her first feelings on the subject was my own reaction to this negativity she seemed to have. It made me angry, even though in my head I knew it wasn’t her and that my feelings were not fair. I knew in my head that it was Alzheimer’s fault, but it took my heart a little while to catch up. I was mad that this joy was going to be taken from me too. Was I going to have to give up one more thing in my life? I was shocked and ashamed of myself, but then I had to forgive myself and move on.
I knew in my head that it was Alzheimer’s fault, but it took my heart a little while to catch up. I was mad that this joy was going to be taken from me too. Was I going to have to give up one more thing in my life? I was shocked and ashamed of myself, but then I had to forgive myself and move on.
As caregivers, we have to give ourselves the right to feel what we feel. Whether it is anger, or grief, or even guilt. Holding them in or trying to deny them only gives these negative feelings more power. Pull those babies out and look at them under a microscope and then throw them over your shoulder and move on.
I don’t know how I would have handled it if she hadn’t changed once they arrived. I’m just glad that I don’t have to figure it out right now. I’m thrilled to be a grandma and I can’t wait to watch them grow up in a family that loves them like they’re meant to be loved. Like the special gifts that they are.