My first memory of Grandmother Lewis was also the first time I ever heard the word “Alzheimer's”. My mom had explained quite calmly that it meant my grandmother lived in the past, and in her eyes I might not always be me. I might be someone else, and I was. The first time I visited her I was my mom, the second time it was the 1930’s and I was a neighbor’s daughter, and the final time my dad and I were Russian spies.
On one hand it was a little disturbing, but on the other it was strangely exhilarating. I never knew who I was going to be when I went to visit my grandmother. I walked down the hall as one person, but as soon as I stepped through the door I was someone completely different. Every part she handed me I played it with as much gusto as a 4 to 13 year old could muster, and I loved every minute of it. For that reason I couldn’t for the life of me understand why my dad announced after the “incident” that was the last time I would be going to visit Grandma Lewis. Something about how it was traumatizing me.
But as time passed I realized how much the fact that my grandmother didn’t know who we were upset my dad. He didn’t see it as an adventure the way I did. He saw it as his mother not recognizing her own son, and a grandmother never truly getting to meet her granddaughter. Over time, my view of our visits was replaced by my dad’s, and it wasn’t until I Gene sent me a link to his short story “Flash in the Bedpan” that I my true memories of my grandmother resurfaced.
It reminded me of the most important thing about my visits with my grandmother. They made her happy. I never forgot my grandmother's screams proclaiming we were Communist spies there to steal her socks, but thanks to Gene I finally remembered how big her smile was and how hard I laughed as my dad had dragged me to the safety of the hallway.
So, if you need a reminder of the little moments that mean the world to someone you care about check out Gene’s story.