My Grandma Chandler (my father's mother) passed away from early onset Alzheimer's. As long as I knew her she suffered from this disease. Im not even sure she ever really knew who I was. I know when we would visit as kids, she thought my brothers were my dad and uncle (she only had sons, 4 of them). So I am sure she always wondered who I was.
I wish I had a chance to know the real Wanda Chandler. From the stories from my father, she was a really great person. Spunky, smart, loving, caring. Wouldn't take my Grandpa Chandler's crap. Which lets face it he was a fun guy and I'm sure at times a handful to deal with.
Because of this disease, I missed out on knowing who she was. From her knowing who I am and remembering. I missed feeling close to someone I could have been super close to. I love her and I always will but what could it have been if I had really had a deep relationship with a woman who knew me and I knew her? I will never get that. She passed away in June of 2000, when I was 20. Almost 2 years after Grandpa passed. She may have lived longer than that if she had not been ravished by this disease. I missed 20+ years.
And what about her children? I know they suffered every time she couldn't remember who they were. Imagine your loved one, the person who raised you, the person you loved unconditionally not knowing who you were? Thinking you were a stranger. Afraid of you at times because of it. It rips your heart out. I know I saw it in my dad's eyes every time we visited. He did a great job of trying to hide it but your eyes are the door to your soul and if you know someone you can see a lot there. Its hard to hide what you really feel in your eyes.
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