If I had only known then what I know now!

by Lois Etienne on March 9, 2012

in Alzheimer's and Dementia,Caregiver Support,Grandmothers,Lifestyle,Senior Health and Safety

Have you ever said, “If I had only known then what I know now?”

I was thinking about my grandmother, Sylvia, the other day. This was a lady who worked hard on a farm most of her life, had six children of which three died before she did, she helped start a church that is still going strong, she could quote large pieces of poetry, she lived to be 94 and I had the privilege of living with her for about two years when I was 16. After I moved away to join the military, Grandma developed Alzheimer’s. She moved in with my mother for about five years until her care became too much.

I remember going back to visit her in Ohio once when my oldest daughter was about a year old. We sat with my mother in Grandma’s room and even though she liked my daughter, you could tell she really struggled with who we were, other than my mom. For several months after that I would call her and spend 10-15 minutes just trying to get her to understand that I was her daughter’s daughter.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have spent more time just talking about her memories, her joys, her sadness, her life. We tend to make life so much about ourselves but when you deal with folks with Alzheimer’s, you quickly learn that you have to be a part of their world and stop trying to bring them into your reality. I loved that woman and I know she had a good, long life and that she was loved and cared for up to the very end BUT I would love to talk to her even today, even with Alzheimer’s.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Barnier March 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

You’ve shared a really valuable insight. We may waste so much time just to get that glimmer of recognition. When we could have been sharing so many easily accessible and wonderful memories. Thanks for this!


Dawn Larson March 9, 2012 at 11:26 am

Lois thank you for sharing this about your Grandmother this is so true. You do have to get in to their world and you can learn so much by just listening to them.


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