This Is What Happens When You Love Someone With Dementia

Unsplash / Lotte Meijer

If you know me at all, you know how much my Nanny means to me. She is gorgeous, sassy, beautiful inside and out, loud, caring, encouraging, supportive, funny, incredibly loving, and entirely selfless.

All of her life she has gone above and beyond for others without ever putting herself first.

My mom was a working mom, so my Nanny would come over our house every morning at 6 am. She always hoped I would still be sleeping but there I was, up and ready to play.

Every morning I greeted her with, ” Oh Nanny I knew you were here because I saw your gray hair!” She played with me constantly without a single complaint.

No matter how tired or annoyed she was, she pushed on and never hinted that she had had enough. She was my best friend then, she is my best friend now, and she always will be.

To this day, she will never complain. She could be in agonizing pain and smile and tell you she is fine and ask you how you are doing and if she could make you a grilled cheese.

My God, I have never met a human being so selfless and I don’t ever expect to meet someone who reaches those standards again. Any time I am lucky enough to be home in New Jersey I am spending every second I can with my Nanny.

We have made so many great memories. We used to drink beer together on the couch and I would complain about how I would never find someone that would love me. Nanny always insisted that I would indeed find the perfect guy when I least expected it and that she hoped she would be lucky enough to meet my future child.

To be completely honest, the way my life was going at the time, I had no expectation that I would find “the one” never mind find the one and have a baby within a year.

When I fell in love with my person and found out I was pregnant very shortly after, I was terrified. Then, after telling my family and knowing I had their support, I was so excited.

I never in a million years thought that I would be lucky enough to find the one and have a baby all in time for my Nanny to experience it!

I visited home with “my bump” and Nanny was overjoyed and constantly kissing it. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.

Then when I was about 8 months pregnant, I called Nanny at 9 PM one night. We talked for an hour about life and how much we loved each other and how we couldn’t wait for her to hold my baby.

I told her, “I love you more than life itself,” like I always do and hung up. The next day Nanny unexpectedly took a bad turn. She wasn’t speaking or responding and they thought she had had a stroke.

Luckily, results showed that it was not a stroke but that she had a UTI that went untreated. Unfortunately, it went untreated for so long that it started to affect what was her already lingering dementia.

Slowly I started to see the Nanny I knew to be so insanely independent become dependent on others to help her live. I saw the woman who means everything to me forget my name and not know who my baby was.

I was so angry. I can’t even express to you the anger that runs through me even now. I couldn’t help but question God and ask, Why? Why couldn’t He wait a few more months for this to happen? Why couldn’t my Nanny hold my baby with her mind completely there?

I spent a lot of time questioning things and a lot of time being angry and I will tell you it hasn’t made anything easier. The thing that has? Acceptance. Gratefulness.

When I placed my baby in my Nanny’s arms for the first time, she knew exactly who she was. She was overcome with joy and bursting with pride. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

She sang my baby the same songs she sang to me, she rocked her and fed her, and let her fall asleep on big comfy boobies (my favorite place to nap as a baby) and it was then I realized that this is all that really matters.

My favorite woman in the world got to meet my favorite girl in the world. God, I am so lucky. I got to take a four generations of pictures. I mean, how many people can say that?

Even if the next day she forgets, in the moment she knows. She knows with all her heart.

She comes to life and I get to see the Nanny I have known and loved all my life and that’s what really matters.ย TC mark

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