I went to bed last night with an idea for a post I was going to write as soon as I got up this morning. That idea has since vanished from my mind so, instead, I’m going to write about something else; on a late Christmas morning where my sister’s still in bed, my mum’s elsewhere and even my dog has decided to return to slumber.
Yesterday afternoon, I paid a brief visit to my granddad‘s house for an hour or two. It was the first time I’d been there since September, I think, and I had to be careful to avoid some of the flood waters. Mum was already there, as it’s on her way back from her half-day at work. So, when I arrived with my sister, it was a surprise to the two of them (he and his wife) and, according to mum, it really seemed to lift them, as they often feel as though we don’t make the effort.
It was sad to see how they have deteriorated since I last saw them. Granddad’s been re-married since before I was born but, I still don’t like to refer to his wife as ‘my nan’, as my real grandmother died six-years ago. She was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and, after a nasty fall down the stairs two-years ago, she’s not been the same since. Mobility has become very difficult and we’ve all witnessed the gradual change. My granddad is struggling to care for her on his own and his health and happiness appears to be suffering because of this. He’s in his 80s but won’t accept any outside help. Apparently, he is now entitled to a carer’s allowance, which he would be happy to accept, and he also talked about how they’ll be able to receive a walk-in shower. That would definitely help the two of them, even if they still have to face the struggle of climbing the stairs.
Another issue is that the grandson from the other side of the family is living with them. Unemployed and un-motivated to do much around the house to help them; he’s living off the little allowance they need to survive on. Their heating’s always on and I do worry about things like this. They can’t kick him out because he has nowhere else to go, with family issues in his own home.
Seeing people you’re close to deteriorating in such a way, living a near-meaningless existence where they seem to do little else each day besides sitting quietly in the kitchen; it’s saddening and almost heart-breaking at times. I struggled, witnessing my grandma’s decline in her final years. For years, as a kid, I never understood how serious the illness was. Then, suddenly, it hits you.
I said recently that I do take my ever-present family for granted sometimes and, it’s when you witness something like this that you begin to appreciate just what and who you have and how important they are. They won’t be here forever. It is a relief to see that some medications are available to try and treat the effects of Alzheimer’s today. When my grandma was suffering with dementia, there was nothing of it’s sort; they could only prescribe tablets designed to combat headaches.
Suddenly, I remember what I was wanting to post last night – although, I fear it may be a bit late now…
One thing I love about Christmas Day is waking up to the silence of the world around you. It might be different living next to a motorway but, the A-road next to mine remains silent and still, first thing in the morning. Sometimes, the tranquillity is repeated on the morning of Boxing Day as well. I do enjoy waking up and appreciating this irregular calm.
Merry Christmas to one and all! If you’re sat in front of your computer screen on this joyous occasion then, you are certainly not alone! 🙂