{August 10, 2011}   I want a love like theirs

today (August 10,2011) marks 50+ years that my great-grandparents have been together. I hate that I can’t remember how many years exactly but I can tell you that they’ll be hitting the 60 year mark sooner than later though

Wesley and Grace Calhoun are their names

the movie The Notebook is a bit similar to the love my great-grandparents have for each other in that the last name of the couple in the movie is Calhoun (just like my great-grandparents), their love endured a lot (just like my g-grandparents) and the woman battled Alzheimer’s disease (so does my g-grandma).  I have no plans on seeing The Notebook though b/c it’s too similar to them. My mama has seen it and said watching it was like being told stories of the lives of my g-grandparents

My grandma Grace has had Alzheimer’s since Dec. of 1999 and has been in a nursing home since March 2008 (she actually went in on my birthday which made me feel some kind of way that year)

I don’t have any recent pictures of them together b/c I didn’t have a digital camera back then. I only have separates now

celebrating the birthday of my favorite 87 year old

kissing him

I’d prefer not to put a picture of her on here b/c I don’t like taking pictures of what Alzheimer’s disease has done to her physical state

I hate that this disease has morphed the lady who used to make me re-wash the dishes if I left them in the rack too long into a woman who no longer recognizes me.  The woman who used to call me Kissing Kate b/c I was always kissing her, the woman who enjoyed watching me cheer when she was in town. In the early stages she’d hear my voice and turn her head in the direction and acknowledge me that way.  My great-grandfather bought her this little talking cheerleader. If you press her tummy she cheers “we’re numb. 1, we can’t be numb. 2 b/c we’re gonna beat the whoopsie out of you” and he’d play it for her and she’d mumble my name.  When she could she’d squeeze the doll’s tummy and it was a representation of me.  She still has the doll but she’s no longer able to squeeze it let alone hold it in her hand.

I also hate what this disease has done to her husband’s soul, mind, spirit, etc. It’s heartbreaking to watch him learn to live without his life’s partner. He still loves her dearly, he will be the first to tell you that even though she’s in a nursing home he still has a wife. He still wears his ring and has a picture of them from the olden days on a chain worn around his neck.

It’s heartbreaking to watch him visit her and she  not even know that he’s there. that right there makes me cry b/c I know that it’s not her fault that she no longer knows him.  She’s just existing these days and it kills me to use the word “existing” instead of living but that’s the harsh reality we as a family are facing.

My g-grandfather has forgotten the actual date of his anniversary and how long he’s been married but he’ll never forget that he has a wife. and of course, she doesn’t remember. Back when he could remember we’d take a cake down to the nursing home and he’d celebrate with her and the nurses who take care of her.

I want a love like theirs one day. For them it REALLY is “til death do us part”

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