My nan has Alzheimer's. It is a cruel disease. It makes you forget the most important things, it makes you forget who you are and who you care about. It makes you scared and depressed. And it just keeps on getting worse, day by day.
I don't get to see my nan often. She lives in Finland (my home country) and we go back there a few times a year. Every time I go back she is a little bit worse. It is heart-breaking to see, not so much because I feel sad, but because I can see how it makes her feel, scared and alone, not knowing what is happening around her.
I am not sure she knows who I am anymore. Or who my daughter is. I know she knows we are important to her, somehow. And I do notice that when she does see us, she perks up. Almost like she remembers us, something, the past once again.
These pictures are precious to me because they show my nan interacting with my daughter, her great-grand-daughter. Like it should be, without the disease. She smiles, she is happy, she gets excited. Suddenly she is connected with the world again, with us, and she is there. Her old personality is there. She is in quite a bad way nowadays, and she can't form sentences or say much anything. But sometimes just seeing her great-grand-daughter, she says something. Is there, present with us.
When I was pregnant my nan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It was 2012. She started to forget things. She would sometimes think I was her daughter, and sometimes she would remember who I was. When I visited her she was excited to talk about the pregnancy and the soon-to-be-here baby. When I left she touched my tummy and said next time I should come back with the baby. She understood what it was all about and what would be happening, and that made me happy..
The next time I came back with her great-grand-daughter. It was autumn 2013. My nan loved her instantly, held her in her arms and chatted to her. Connected with her. The next time we came back, February 2014, she had practically lost her ability to speak. But when she held my daughter in her arms, my nan cooed at her, tickled her under her chin and said "Look at you there". Fully-formed sentence, something she had not said in a long time.
This time, July 2014, she didn't say anything anymore. But she held her, cuddled her, and looked at her. She knew this baby was important. Maybe she knew it was her great-grand-daughter, maybe not. But I do know my nan knows this is someone important to her. Every time my nan sees my daughter, my nan perks up, and my nan is there with us again, even for just a fleeting moment.
I don't want to forget those tiny little glimpses of her old personality shining through, peeking through and despite the disease. Those little ordinary moments we managed to steal from the disease. Because they are important and I cherish them.
(Linking with The Ordinary Moments)