This year so far has probably been one of the most difficult in my life. I have been brought to my knees by numerous things that life just keeps throwing at me, however, I think the most difficult thing is seeing the ones I love suffer.
I am lucky, in the sense that I have never lost anyone close. That also means I don’t know how it feels to have that happen… and it’s pretty scary.
My grandma has Parkinsons. I had seen interpretations in dramas on the tv in the past. I had heard about the disease here and there. But I never knew just how debilitating it was.
My grandma had always been the more active one in her partnership with my grandpa. She would go walking and, being a postwoman in the past, loved her bike until she was hit by a car. It was then, when she was in hospital, that one of the doctors fleetingly mentioned that they thought they had seen the early signs of Parkinsons. I wasn’t told this until the other week. If that was so then why wasn’t it looked into further?
It is difficult to see my grandparents as I work almost every day and I hadn’t seen them in almost over a year until last Christmas. When I finally saw them a few days before christmas I was incredibly shocked at how my grandma had worsened. A year is a long time but I had never expected such rapid degradation. I return now every few months but it seems to be significantly worse every time I do. She has got to the stage where she can’t be left unattended because the hallucinations are increasingly worse and she wonders off on her own. She often tries to do things that she can’t and ends up falling, and the effect this has had on my grandpa is also seemingly noticeable in his appearance.
This being said, although it is taking it’s toll, they always try their best to remain positive. Especially my grandpa. He is incredibly loving and adoring of his family, and every time I visit, tries to show that everything is alright… even though I know it isn’t. He always tries to make me laugh and I never get bored of the tales he tells of his past, even if he tells me them 100 times over. After 63 years of marriage it is amazing how one can remember so much. He still laughs and smiles at those memories as if it had just happened yesterday. My grandma, although struggling with her illness, is still able to crack a smile and tries her best not to let it defeat her. Her words may get mumbled and she may do things involuntary but she still remains strong in her will and heart.
I wish there was something I could do, but there isn’t, and I feel helpless. Hopefully the happiness that I and all of their grandchildren, and great grandchildren bring them gives them some sort of peace when times are hard. I will always look up to them as, despite everything, they are two of the strongest, most loving, people I know.