In January of 2010, I decided to pack of all of my belongings and put them in storage. I was living in a fantastic apartment in Chicago... (If I do say so myself) With a view of the lake from every window and the ability to walk into the park or the zoo by crossing the street.
You are probably wondering why I would do such a thing... It was for love. The love of family. You see... my mother has been a terrific caretaker of both my grandfather who passed away 7 years ago, and my 90 year old Grammy Mazie who is suffering from advanced dementia and is quite a handful. How long has she taken care of them? 12 long years. I don't know how she did it. She is by far the strongest woman I know. I admire my mother for her generosity, her love, devotion, committment, and most of all for her love of God. Christ shines through her and people are drawn to her like a magnet.
Well for those of you who are not Christians and don't believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, and that you need to believe in Him and accept the Holy Spirit into your heart in order to have everlasting life.... that is a different conversation. I still think that although I refer to Christ all the time, and quite a bit in this story... you will find some value in my tale.
Anyhoo.... Seeing that my Mom was near the end of her rope emotionally, physically and psychologically... I stepped in. What was supposed to be a 3 month stay has now become a year (well it will be this January). Whew! Let me tell you... this has been something! I have been living on my own fully since 1994. I have lived in DC, Silver Spring Maryland, Columbia Maryland, and Chicago IL. I am a city girl and proud of it! I do not own a car.... because I don't want to be tied down with one...and I am the first chick to hail a cab and go home when the party gets old for me.
So moving back to North Braddock, PA...which is my home town has been a challenge. My town used to be a full producing steel mill town 10 minutes outside the city limits of Pittsburgh, PA. I went to school in the city my entire life...Having always gone to private school. But when I lived here... my Grandfather was alive and during the lapses between my car ownership... I would drive his. Now I am car less and stuck! But I digress...
Like many mother-daughter relationships, my Mom and Grammy had some friction when I got here. Personally I think that a small part of it is because they are much more alike than they think. I have really enjoyed my mother and grandmother especially because she is 91 and still dancing. The vascular dementia that she has is devastating and has prohibited her from most activities...as well as her memory which lasts about 3 minutes now... but she still jokes and has the spunk that made her the matriarch of 3 children, 11 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren.
We are doing our best to keep her at home.... and financially, emotionally and physically it is truthfully killing us softly. But she is so worth it, and I wouldn't have missed this time for anything in the world. I don't know how much longer we will have her. It could be a day or 5 years! You never know with dementia...because it eats away at your brain and begins to shut down your bodily functions. But I am savoring and documenting every minute. Grammy is not afraid to die... She says that she is going to be wrapped in the loving arms of her Jesus and can't wait to see her loved ones again. She is neither worried nor concerned. What a way to age....and what a spectacular example for all of us. As Christians... which would we rather have? Life here on earth or life with our Father in Heaven... I mean seriously? So she has the right attitude.
On Labor Day 2010 I took Grammy out to a fancy hotel for tea/ coffee and cake. She doesn't remember it... but she had a grand time! (See picture above) I will never forget it. She kept flirting with the bellman! Such a pistol she is! Look for a book about us to come out in the next year or so... filled with wisdom and hilarity as well. I told a friend today that this has been the hardest year of my life. I have grown as a person, a Christian and a woman. I only hope that God will show me the way to utilize this growth to help others on their journeys. I don't know exactly what He has planned but I am sure it is exciting!
For now I am going to go... but I wanted to check in and let you know that I am still alive and plan on blogging regularly again!