Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Angels and An Angel

The Angels
Eldra and her husband have always been sports fans. And they like all of the Southern California professional sports teams. Then sometime around 1984 one of their daughters dated one of the Angels, who helped them get season tickets, and they became super fans of the Angels.

Many of the summer nights of my childhood were spent with them at Angel's Stadium, watching the game and laughing at the California Chicken. It was magical.

Well it's baseball season and I am enjoying watching the games with her again. We don't have season tickets anymore, so now we sit in her room, her in her adjustable bed, me in Grampa's recliner. But it still feels magical. Bonding with my Grama over baseball.

My only sadness is that after the fall baseball season will be over and then what will we watch. I am thinking about just recording all the games and watching them again with her later. That's one of the beauties of Dementia. Enjoying things for the first time again.

An Angel
Today By the time lunch was over, I was exhausted. It seemed as if I had wiped peanut butter off of a million sticky fingers, and all I wanted was to go sit on the couch. But What I needed to do was rinse the dishes and straighten up the kitchen. So, I pushed myself and got up to the sink and started rinsing.

While I did I felt a friendly touch squeeze the back of my arm just above my elbow. Exactly the way I had seen my Grampa do so many times. It was gentle and comforting, and it felt like the feeling you get when you get chills, but concentrated in that one place on my arm. When I looked no one was there.

But I knew it was my Grampa, Eldra's husband. The one whom I had seen standing at this sink washing dishes a million times. And there he was comforting me.

"Hi Grampa."  I said, and then in another moment, it was gone.

As I sat reflecting on the occurrence, the house phone rang. The person on the other end called my by my grandmother's name, and asked to speak with my Grampa.

"I'm sorry he's not available." I said, "Can I take a message."
No thank you I'll call back another time." They said pleasantly.
"No uh.." I stammered "He will never be available."
The words shocked me. It has only been seven months since he passed away but it still feels fresh.
"OK, I will remove him from our list then, thank you."

And then I realized why he had really been there squeezing my arm just a moment before. To soften the blow of having to say those words to a total stranger. To let me know that even though he is gone, he is still very much here with me.

That's just like him, to be so caring, so reassuring, such a sweet Grampa. To be here for me on a tough day, through a rough moment, to help me feel a little closer to him.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

To Me It Doth Not Stinketh

There is a story in our religion of a man who is presumed to be dead, but his wife does not believe he is dead, and the reason she gives for not believing he is dead is in her words; "To me he doth not stinketh."

I love that story.

My mother once told me that she was once complaining to my father that she was all sweaty and stinky, and he told her that she never stinks to him.

There is something to be said about loving someone so much, that no matter what, they never stink to you.

A couple weeks ago when were moving into Eldra's house, someone mentioned that it smells like old people.

But it doesn't smell like old people to me.

The smell of the air as you walk up the front steps smells like arriving to family parties, of looking in the kitchen window and seeing my Grama standing at the kitchen sink.

The carpet in the dining room smells like sitting next to my Grampa at the dining room table, helping him organize his finances when he was getting too old to do it on his own.

The smell of wet cement outside by the pool smells like swimming with my cousins, like family barbecues, and the special punch my grama used to make for us to drink. It smells like laying on the wall while my mom put ear drops in our ears after we swam.

My grandparents room smells like my Grampa giving us grandkids honey roasted peanuts while he sat in the big lazyboy chair.

And there are so many smells that were once here, that I miss.

I miss the smell of my grandparents old freezer. The one that was always filled with Hagen Daz and Bryers.

I miss the smell of the air conditioning in my Grandparents Lincoln. The one that floated down the road like you were driving on a cloud. The one with the plush leather seats that if you didn't wear your seat-belt, you would slide right off of them onto the car floor.

I miss the smell of my Grama's perfume. I miss the smell of my Grampa's hugs. I miss the smell of my Grama' cooking. It filled the air with flavor and sweetness.

I love the smells here. It doesn't smell like old people to me. It smells like my childhood.

And to me it does not stinketh.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Slinky Lincoln!"

As the story goes, Eldra's father bought her a Lincoln for her first car. It was some time in the 30's. for some reason over the past couple of years, she has started talking about that car, and all Lincons she passes on the road.

She calls them "Slinky Lincoln's". Well she really calls them "SLINKY LINCOLNS!" And she likes to draw out the first word forever, and shout the whole thing at the top of her voice while you are driving. Which is equally as frightening as when she sees a UPS truck.

It's exhilarating really. It causes you to get a rush of adrenaline and you could probably lift a car with one hand after she says it. So at least there's that.

The thing is, that I have a three year old who just adores Eldra. And he listens to her, and likes to say the things that she says. So when she says "Slinky Lincoln", there is also an echo (with a three year old lisp which makes it sound like "Swinkie Wincun") which carries to the back seat of the car.

It's awesome.

Last week this three year old was playing with a little toy he had gotten in some goody bag somewhere. It was a little plastic slinky. And he called it his "Swinkie Wincun".

I died.

It blew my mind the correlation his young mind made. And I laughed to myself about it a few times.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

You were just a little thing

This morning Grama woke up early shouting "Where am I! Where am I!?!"
I quickly ran in and remeinded her that she is in her home. That this is her master bedroom, and that she has lives in this house since 1963. We discussed this for a few minutes and then came the doozie;

"Where's Monroe?"

(Monroe is her husband. My Grampa. The most wonderful Grampa who has ever been. I love him so much. I miss him every single day.)

I was shocked by the question. I didn't even know how to respond.

So I told her the truth.

"He passed away in January Grama."

She was shocked, and immediately started to cry. I sat next to her, and held her, and we cried together.

The morning continued in this way, her not remembering the past 30 years, and me talking her through it. Often times she would forget what we had talked about a few minutes before, and ask again. The following conversation happene several times over the course of an hour.

Eldra: "You're Pami?"
Me: "Yes Grama."
Eldra: "You don't look like Pami."
Me: "Well I'm all grown up."
Eldra: "How did that happen?"
Me: "We'l it took me 30 years."
Eldra: "Where was I?"
Me: "You were here with me."
Eldra: "I was?"
Me: "Yes Grama."
Eldra: "But I don't remember."
Eldra: "Pami?"
Me: "Yes Grama."
Eldra: "You were just a little thing."
Me: "And now I'm all grown up."
Eldra: "Why don't I remember?"
Me: "We'll your mind is old Grama. Give it a chance to wake up."
Eldra: "How old am I?"
Me: "You're 91."
Eldra: "I'm ninety one?!?"
Me: "Yes Grama."
Eldra: "I'm so old.

My favorite part of this morning was hearing the phrase;
"You were just a little thing when I remember."
She said it several times. It's was nice to hear.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

In My Pocket

Eldra is staying at my house for a couple days while my aunt and uncle are away. She is couching it. She is just super hip like that, and is cool with couching it at a friend's (or in this case a granddaughter's) house for a few days.

The thing is, that I wish it were longer. I love being around her. I love having her here. I love taking care of her. I wish she could just stay here and never go back to my aunt and uncles house. It reminds me of something she used to say to me when I was a kid.

Whenever she was leaving wherever we were, she would say she wished she could just put me (or whichever grandchild she was talking to) in her pocket and take me home with her. It was wonderful to hear that as a child. To be told that I was loved so much that she wished she could just take me home with her. What a glorious feeling to be so loved.

In 1John 4:19 it says; "We love him, because he first loved us."

I think this is why I love her so much. Because she loved me so much when I was little. And now, I just can't help but love her.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Eldra's first grand daughter is her favorite. And I don't mind knowing that. We are a family of people who have favorites, I'm pretty sure everybody knows whose is whose and we handle it.

But Eldras is her first. And she lives far away. And she works for UPS. To be specific she delivers packages for UPS. So Eldra has an affinity for UPS trucks. 

Not just a normal happy to see a big brown truck driving down the street kind of affinity. It's a so surprised and happy to see a big brown truck that she has to yell "Ups" at the top of her lungs kind of affinity. And she points at it. Then just to be sure that you heard her, she yells it a couple more times.

It's awesome when his happens while we are driving. I should say while I am driving. Because every time I hear her yell it, my adrenaline goes from 0-60 in about a millisecond and I think she's trying to point out a car careening towards us, and I prepare for us to get T-boned. But then happily I realize that it's just a UPS truck. 

It is the driving equivalent to watching one of those stupid videos on the Internet where the creepy face pops up and scares the life out of you.

I wonder if I'll ever get used to it. Or if my body will eventually stop reacting like the guy on pulp fiction when he gets an adrenaline shot in the heart. 

They say that 80%of caregivers for people with dementia die before the person with dementia does. "Ups!"

I get why. 

Who Is Eldra

Eldra is my Grandmother. She is a fire cracker. She loves and hates with her whole being. She has been through some of the toughest trials any woman should ever have to endure. And yet she still somehow finds joy in the smallest things.

It is an adventure just to hang out with her, you never know if she is going to love the heck out of you or yell at you. And she will do both during the same visit. And she is not a respector of persons, she will yell at you, or the mailman, or her great grandchildren just the same. But she also has the sweetest heart, and for some reason I just like being around her.

The purpose of this Blog, is to give the entire world a chance to enjoy my grandmother. And to keep me sane while I enjoy being around her.

This is Eldra, almost 93 years old. Still a fire cracker.

She was born in 1922 in Boise Idaho in a little house on a little street which is now paved over and part of the BYU Idaho Campus.

I have a memory full of experiences with her.