Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My grandmother is eighty four. She will be eighty five this November. After she retired, she travelled to Europe and North America. Now she can't walk much. She stays at home. Earlier at home, she used to read newspapers, watch cricket, avidly follow soaps on Sun TV and write letters to her friends and relatives. She used to clean the kitchen and cut fruits. She used to keep accounts and order groceries. 

Now she can't remember anything. Her attention span is extremely short. She says she can't read because her eyes hurt with the tiny newspaper print. I bought her a magnifying glass. She was very excited to receive it and she has tucked it away at the back of her cupboard. I tried giving her books with larger print but she says she doesn't want to read. Many times, she has asked me to leave her alone.

She spends her days doing nothing. She sits on her bed and stares into space.

Sometimes she asks me who I am. Sometimes she can't tell the difference between me and my sister. Most of the time, she doesn't know whether it is night or day.

She repeatedly performs certain behaviours. Like flushing the toilet again and again. Like changing her clothes again and again. Like rubbing her hands against the bedsheet again and again. Of late, she has been having hallucinations. She describes people, places and events to us as if they really happened. To her, they are real. To us, they are not.

Sometimes, we indulge her by asking her for more details. Sometimes we are flustered and tell her to stop imagining things. It is very hard to reach out to her. She lives in a different space.

It is very hard to watch someone you love lose their mind.


Raveena said...

Sometimes we are happier when we are away from reality.

Perhaps she is happy too.

Synical said...

Touching. Ironic, I am reading this post on a day when my grandma is recounting for the fifth time, how her husband passed away today. Hour by hour.

does recounting the most tragic moment of your life also be termed hallucinating?

nidhi said...

Sve, big hug. things, events, days, people, pain...have a way of passing. passing you by at times.

the last time i saw my paternal grandfather, he was curled up on his bed, drooling, half the size he originally was. the last time i saw my maternal grandfather, he was on ice. and my maternal grandma is showing similar signs. living in a house where nobody really cares for her, not even her grandchildren. being aggressive and then forgetting about it. i can't forget these sights either.

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam said...

Really like the way you write.

oof ya! said...

raveena - lets keep the optimism
synical, nidhi - hugs to you .
sam - thank you