I was walking down a small hallway into my grandfather’s room. The top half of the hallway walls was white and the bottom half, separated from the top half by the white crowning, was burgundy. The carpet was fuzzy and a khaki color that stretched from the living room, through the hall, into the bedrooms. The ceilings were white and were the popcorn style, the one with all the bumps. There was the bathroom to the right, up a little was a bedroom to the left, about 10 feet forward was my aunt and uncle’s room, and then right next to that was my grandfather’s room. He was such a patriotic man. The walls were a dark blue color with white crowning. He had a small television, with a DVD and VHS player built into it, on top of a mid-height dresser with four drawers located directly to the left as one walks in. Diagonally in front of the door was a long dark wood dresser, facing vertically, with a big mirror on top of it. In front of that was a door that goes to his bathroom. In the middle of the room was his bed, with dark blue sheets. To the left of the bed was the light-wood computer desk. It was a rather big desk with a flat screen monitor and wireless mouse and keyboard. Above the bed was a very patriotic picture of soldiers. He had patriotic figures all over his room because he was a veteran in World War II.
He was lying in his bed wearing his light blue jeans, his dark green polo shirt, and his white socks that were dark navy blue on the heels and the toes. Of course, one could barely tell what he was wearing because he was curled up underneath his dark blue comforter fast asleep. He was a very tan man which I suppose is because he is part Native-American. He had the most beautiful dark, brown eyes and dark gray hair, with some white in it. He was very skinny but had a lot of fluid build-up on his ankles. He was always so cold, like ice. He was also a short man, about 5’5”. Like the typical elderly person in his or her 90’s, he had wrinkles. He was always such a sweet man. He was so weak so he would need to have a long wooden cane, which was actually taller than him, to help him walk. Soon he could hardly do that. He had to have a wheelchair.
I walked over to his bed, touched his icy cold hand, and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He woke up and looked puzzled. I don’t think he remembered who I was. I said “Hey granddaddy, it’s your granddaughter, Jerica.” With all his might he smiled. We carried on a long conversation and watched some television. Of course, he couldn’t remember where he had put the remote. Soon the rest of my family came in, I had to tell him who everyone was and he soon remembered. I was so thankful that the Alzheimer’s didn’t progress very far, but it was bad enough as to where he would try to take his medicine multiple times, not remembering that he already took it in the morning. One of these days I will have questions.
This warm summer day is when all my questions were generated. I was walking into the big brick hospital with my mother, father, older brother, and older sister. My grandfather was sick. The doctors did not know what was wrong with him. I entered into his small room. There was a bathroom to the right; next to the bathroom was a long counter with only a sink and a phone on it. There were three chairs to the left, one of which is like a recliner; the other two were just ordinary hospital chairs but a peachy color. Then there is the bed in the middle. There were IVs running over the bed into my grandfather’s cold, wrinkly, tan arm. I walked over and touch his icy hand and hold it tight, but not too tight. Tears began to form in my blue eyes as he tried to remember who I was. I remembered him trying to say my name with his hoarse, crackly, faint voice. He called me by my sister’s name. I closed my eyes. It was so much for me to bare. The jointed tears began to roll down my face. He asked me “what’s the matter child?” I said to him “I am Jerica, your granddaughter.” He gave an expression that was indescribable as he recognized who I was. I was elated as he remembered who I was. I gave him a tender kiss on his cheek as he fell into a deep sleep. My tears ran off of my pale face onto his cheek. Later that night he passed away. Every night I miss him. Every night I wonder if he remembered who his family was before he passed away. He would talk nonsense a plethora of the time, but I wonder if it all made sense to him. Alzheimer’s changed who my grandfather was. Explaining everything to him multiple times, repeating stories because he did not remember that he had already asked that question, finding things that he had lost, and describing who people are so he could remember are all things that my family and I had to do since my grandfather had Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s affects more than one person’s life. It affects the family as a whole.