Calling Alzheimer’s

Expecting to dial your grandmother and for her to pick up the phone leaves you hanging on to nothing. Loving someone with Alzheimer’s disease is like dropping a container of tacks on the ground and trying to pick them up quickly. It just doesn’t work like that.


You move slowly and it hurts. The tips of your fingers spit blood.

My grandmother has been losing her ability to function normally for about 8 to 10 years. I knew it when she started wetting the bed. I denied it when she called me by my mom’s name. I ticked it off as a common, just tired, momentary memory lapse. I mean, don’t we all forget things?

But, here I am calling her, wanting her to pick up at the recovery center, knowing that even when I’m lucky enough to get her, she’ll call me her sister or her daughter.

I saw her today and she recognized me after I said, “It’s Lisa.” I didn’t want her to call me another name. I just wanted to be me. I wanted her to know me.

She did. We talked. We laughed. I fed her and she giggled making fun of herself being fed like a baby and wearing diapers. I could’ve stayed all day. But, I had to go home to my own family. And, I knew it would get difficult later. I really didn’t want to see it.

I had been at the hospital when she hallucinated and thought I was “teasing” her, trying to hurt her. She screamed at me. I couldn’t do anything. I could only leave and pray.

No. Not prayer.

I Know. Just know. It’s life. It’s just life.

Then, I could only remember. I could only cry and remember her holding my hand through life.

I could remember holding her now spotted, wrinkled hand, swollen with arthritis and thinking that it was the most beautiful hand I’d ever held.

As her memories slip and slide, crashing into each other, disappearing, mine kindle into a fire so hot that I feel burnt. Not crisp though. Those memories burn, light my way into a deep understanding and a perception that having not seen her this way, I may have just clopped through life with the rest of us.

But now I know, I’m very sure, that there’s a light that will never go out. All thanks to a woman who many say has lost her mind. In the midst of confusion…she doesn’t remember someone or forgets who she’s talking to, she’ll smile and throw up her hands, “Oh well, doesn’t matter.”

I throw up my hands too now. “Oh well,” I think, “You’re getting closer to your light.”

Then I pick up another tack.




Published by Lisa Chesser

I'm a writer, editor, award-winning educator, and marketing professional who hopes to rally everyone around one single mantra: Be brave, smart, and bold. As an educator, I love to remind students to dream in the midst of politics gone mad! Thus, I am also a dreamer.

14 thoughts on “Calling Alzheimer’s

  1. A very moving post! Do you follow a blogger (can’t remember her link) she posted a video of a Doctor Newport curing her husband’s Alzheimer with coconut oil which seems like a sham but isn’t.
    I looked up the YouTube link & found this link but if you want you can choose different ones (there are a few) on the sidebar, this one goes in a few parts. it would be nice if something would come out of this!
    My best wishes & our prayers to your grandmother for her well being 🙂


  2. As always, your words are so eloquent and sincere. Thank you for showing us beauty in such situations. It helps us all, whether we have been through the same or are lucky enough to never have these experiences.


  3. Ah, I remember so well as my beloved father slid down this path, as I lost him. I remember shaking my fist at the skies and the indifferent God who would strip my brilliant father of his most precious mind and his memories. I was furious and bereft.

    This was beautifully done, beautifully written. Many hugs. Much love.


  4. Beautifully heartfelt and well-written post, Lisa. Thank you. My own belief is that the receiver may disintegrate, but the soul is still out there, intact, carrying what it has distilled from this fading earthly life, waiting to move on to the next phase…..


  5. Thank you Lisa you have the ability of capturing what it feels like from different perspectives. My mum too had Alzheimers first there was denial from her and us her family, then came the anger and frustration and then came the acceptance from her and most but not all of her family. I needed to introduce myself every visit but she was thankfully usually happy and would say with a laugh ‘silly memory! Don’t get old love’. I didnt take it personally because i knew she had no control of her memories. She really was living in the moment and free at last from the incessant worrying she indulged in. She passed two years ago and is always in my heart. Thankyou for sharing


    1. Thank you for the insightful, caring response. I love connecting with fellow WordPressers on an emotional level and trying to make sense of our difficulties. My grandmother continues to live on although she’s taken a severe downward turn. So much commotion surrounds the situation and I sit back and think, Yes, this is reason why so many fear death. When it’s quick, great. When it’s too soon, painful. When it drags on and makes a mockery of us, suffering. So, I’m dealing with it through bits and pieces of appreciation for the moment, hoping she passes with some peaceful thoughts.


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