The Woman Who Used to be Grandma
Last Christmas, I got to spend time with my grandmother who is already at the 6th stage of Alzheimer's. It was very painful to watch her deteriorate from this very wonderful woman who took care of me in lieu of my mother (who was MIA for quite some time due to giving birth to me at a very young age) to this person who I think is my grandmother. This almost unrecognizable, somehow violent woman.
I've always thought of Alzheimer's as a concept so foreign - existing only in the world of Meredith Grey. Little did I know that it has been living so comfortably in our genes, ready to pounce upon triggered. I may have it. My mom may have it. Even my brothers are not safe.
This disease, apparently, is the worst. Aside from having no existing cure, it is also a disease that's infamous for inflicting pain unto the patient's family as the patient will unknowingly hurt his/her loved ones (verbally and physically), and of course, the burden of going through each stage of the disease until the patient is no more.
I have to admit, I can't stand talking to my grandmother. It may make me a bad person but I really am having a hard time talking to an almost empty shell from someone who was once so warm and loving - showering me with Avon products and Pasaload. Nowadays, the person who used to be my grandmother stares at me with vacant eyes as she tries to recognize who the hell I am.
Now, all I have of her are memories of the woman that she once was. I will always remember her as the woman who used to be my grandma, taking me to salon trips here and there. She was the one who got me my first pedicure and she was the one who taught me how to put on lipstick. She was responsible for my ear piercings because she never got one and somehow wanted to live vicariously through my ears and I. Summer was spent at her house in Nueva Ecija where she bought me my first copy of Precious Hearts Romance - the first novel I read from cover to cover at 6 years old. These memories of her will live with me even when the woman who used to be grandma is far gone.
Last Christmas, the woman who used to be grandma looked at me and said, "Ang ganda mo naman". I laughed and said "Mana po sa inyo, lola mame!" She looked confused and went back to watching Cinema One while I sit beside her, holding her hand.