The awareness that Alzheimer’s was entering our lives hit us square in the face several years ago.
Grampa was starting to forget the 2nd half of a sentence when he telling a story.
He would look at me and start to say something, call me by someone else’s name… and then immediately he would know that was the wrong name. But he couldn’t figure it out. So I would offer up my name… “HI GRAMPA! It’s Lori!”
Most of the times that would help. He would usually remember.
Sometimes he wouldn’t.
His wife, my step-grandmother, started making excuses for him. She would hide their reality from us. She would explain he wasn’t available to come to the phone. And when we wanted to visit she would say they weren’t going to be home. And when Christmas rolled around … they were “going to be spending Christmas with her kids this year”. She didn’t know how to handle it. She thought by changing his meds he could get better. She tried everything she knew. But she couldn’t hide it anymore…
Our “Big Man” just wasn’t there anymore.
That’s what he used to say to the grandsons. I used to be able to hear the boys wrestling in the living room… and then Grampa would come in and swoop one of them up off the carpet. And the boys would giggle… and Grampa would say to my cousin “Who’s The Big Man now?! Huh?!” Grampa would tickle him until he would relent: “You are Grampa! You’re The Big Man!” Pleased with his eldest grandson’s response… he’d set him free. And the boys would go back to wrestling on the living room floor. Oh the memories that come flooding in…
I couldn’t tell you when it happened exactly… but our family eventually realized that Alzheimer’s was approaching and we better be ready for it.