Crying Till My Eyes Hurt

I had a great weekend.  I really did.  I’ll update you on that tomorrow.  But now, I just need to process some things…and for me, that means writing it out (especially because I am home alone and the dog isn’t the best to talk something out with).

My mom, grandma, and cousin came to visit this weekend.  If you remember (or if you are new here), my grandma fell and had some brain injury back around Thanksgiving. It was scary.  She had memory problems, wouldn’t eat, couldn’t understand.  Luckily, (against what the doctors thought), she left the hospital, spent a couple months in a rehab home, and is now living with my mom.  She isn’t the same Gram.  She used to be a bubbly, spunky lady.  She was sweet and patient.  She lived in her home alone and had a zeal about her.

We are new to brain trauma.  We have had lots of issues within our family, but brain injury isn’t one of them.  Luckily, Tyler’s dad had traumatic brain injury years ago (his was MUCH worse…he was in a coma for a long time and had to relearn how to do everything).  It is a blessing that they have navigated this road before.  They are able to coach us.

But that doesn’t make this easy.  See, brain trauma robbed us of many parts of Gram.  Now, she is unstable physically.  Her balance is off now.  We were at a ladies event at church Saturday night, and she fell coming out of the bathroom.  She can’t walk very far, so we push her in a transport wheelchair.  But she fights us over it.  She is a hunched over little thing now.

Brain trauma has changed her personality.  She snaps at us now.  She is very self-centered.  Gone is her empathy.  Gone are many of her emotions.  Gone are her kind words.  Now, if she takes a bite of food she doesn’t like, instead of politely not eating it, she says “Yuck…who made this?  Why would I eat it?”  Which seems funny…but it isn’t when you realize she is capable now of being rude and ugly.

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE my Grandma.  She is one of my heros.  I will forever be thankful that she is living and breathing now and that we didn’t lose her in her fall.  However, after this weekend, I had to mourn the loss of the grandma that was.

When they left today, Tyler was coaching me on accepting Gram as she is now.  See, we keep “getting on to” her.  We keep thinking that if we correct her enough, she will snap out of it. But she won’t.  This is the new Gram.  We need to love her and help her.  I had a good cry earlier this afternoon over losing my Gram.  She is still alive, but she is different.  I will love this Grandma just as much, but for different things.

I took a nap after my cry (especially since Tyler left to help his dad to some things at his house..I hate to cry alone…it always gets ugly).  I tend to sleep when I have issues.  Something about the fact that I can’t be upset or hurt when I’m sleeping.  In my darkest times in my life, I get well rested.  I retreat.  I woke up and talked to my mom on the phone and cried some more. I cried for losing Gram.  I cried for my mom taking care of everyone (Gram, my dad- who has early onset Alzheimers, my cousins, my aunt, me…the list goes on). I cried for Gram.  I cried because she wants her independence again.  She longs to go back to living alone, to driving, to being herself.  I cried because in many ways, she doesn’t realize she changed.  She doesn’t remember the accident- let alone how far she has come.  I cried for lots of things.  I cried until my eyes were red and my head hurt and the snot ran down my nose (I told you it gets ugly). 

Then I moved on.  I put up laundry.  I took a bath.  I watched The Next Food Network Star.  I can’t allow myself to sit in this sadness, but I’m glad to have felt it.  All I can do now is pray. I pray that parts of Gram come back.  I pray that we will learn how to better care for her and love her, exactly how she is.  I pray for God’s peace. He is faithful.  I have known that all along. 

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