Monday, August 12, 2013

Saying goodbye to a memory

Life is complicated. It is and some of those "complications" in life are often times intermingled with sweet and not so sweet things. When my son Emmanuel was born, I was a teen mom. His biological father chose not to be a part of his life however, the rest of the family did. E-man's Grandparents were very sweet and visited him in the hospital when he was born. They have over the years seen him ( not as often as they would have had his Bio Dad chosen to be there) but still there has been some interaction. For E-man the connection is a little harder because his Grandparents for the most part speak Spanish (although his Grandpa " Pa Chisco" knows how to say the phrase "you got a girlfriend?" perfectly in English) For me,I have always felt a special love for his Grandparents. I met them when I was a teenager and got to know them while I dated their son and they were there in the early years when I was a single mom. E-man's Grandma " Ma Chewy" and  I have felt a special connection with each other and she has donned me with the title " honorary Daughter in law." I have to say it again, life is complicated. So that is the backdrop of our relationship. Several months ago I took E-man to visit his grandparents. I was taken aback when I saw Pa Chisco. He had gone through serious health problems that left him somewhat frail. When I greeted him he didn't give me a hug right away but rather gave more of an introduction of himself. I at first thought he was joking around, he was always a bit of a prankster. As he settled into his recliner, the realization of how much he had changed was settling in with me. His hair was pure white, he was much thinner and moved much slower. Yet, there was a calmness to him. Alzheimer is a tricky disease, he reflected the memory I have of him, but in turn there was no longer a memory for me to reflect. Once he knew E-man was his grandson he started talking with him about working, Pa Chisco was always a hard worker and he encouraged E-man to do well at his job, work hard so he could make money and get girlfriends. I laughed when he asked E-man if he had a girlfriend to which E-man replied," no" to which Pa Chisco replied "No you don't have A girlfriend, you say you have two girlfriends." Last night I received a message from one of E-man's Tia's letting me know that Pa Chisco is not well and we should probably go visit him. I called  Ma Chewy and she gave me an update which included letting me know the Alzheimer's Disease had progressed even further as well as other illnesses. E-man and I are planning to go visit them. I doubt that Pa Chisco will know who I am, I doubt he'll know who E-man is but, we know who he is and that is reason enough for us to visit them. When I met this family in my teen years I didn't realize how quickly we would be here, where the years and illnesses start taking things away. It doesn't seem like I've known them for over 20 years but, I have. I could not sleep last night, my heart was sad. I'm sad because I could hear in Ma Chewy's voice the hurt she is feeling seeing her husband go through the physical struggles. I'm sad because there is a mourning that happens with Alzheimer's where the person is there but, you feel you've lost them already. I'm sad for E-mans Aunt's who have to prepare to say goodbye to their Dad. I'm sad for E-man because he didn't get to know them as well as he should have been able to and now I see that the time is coming to a close. When we're younger we think we have all the time in the world and as I am starting to get older (cough, cough did I just say that???) I am seeing how quickly time is passing. I cannot wait to see them. I look forward to sitting in their living room. I may have a little ache in my heart when we see them, but I will also feel the love and that is enough.

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