one of my favorite memories of my grandmother is waking up to the smells of her kitchen. it was always my favorite part about spending the night at their (mema and grandaddy’s) house. some mornings, there would be cinnamon rolls, that she had started the day before, waiting to be iced. other mornings, it was just pancakes and sausage. but it always had a smell. a smell that conjures up sweet, sweet memories that i hold so very dear in my heart.
i could write forever about the wonderful memories i share with my grandmother. memories of her spelling out “shit” to my mother when i was 10-years old and then realizing I was quite old enough to understand what she spelled. my mom and i still laugh about that one. memories of coke floats, mine and my grandaddy’s favorite treat, in the green glasses. this was a staple. coke floats tasted better in those glasses. my grandaddy said so. :) memories of painting flower pots and watching “The Price is Right”. memories of my nine-year old self to my grandmother, “when i get older, can i have your goblets? they are the most beautiful goblets.” and now they sit in my possession because, “no one else would love them as much as you [me].” memories of knitting and sewing, and reorganizing her Southern Living magazine subscription a thousand times. (see, i’ve always been OCD.) and the list goes on and on and on.
my grandmother has alzheimer’s. it is devastating to me, my mom, to anyone affected by this disease.
most days, i am peace with this harsh reality. most days.
but some days i’m not. and i ache for the laughter that these memories bring to me to be reciprocated by her.
it simply will not happen.
the first time my grandmother didn’t know my name, let alone who i was, i wrote this in my journal:
“i don’t know what’s worse, seeing my face and not recognizing it, or, not seeing you at all and relying on my best memories of you. alzheimer’s sucks.”
that’s how i feel today. i want to walk into my grandmother’s kitchen, smell her cooking, sit in the sunroom and flip through cookbooks, or have her read to me. that’s what i want. that’s all that i want.
instead, i will settle for these memories.