I am currently in the land of my people. The land I call Canada.
Just kidding, I'm only half Canadian. But I am indeed in Canada, the lovely province of Ontario to be more specific. Fun fact: there are a lot of maple things here - cookies, candies, etc. My personal favorite is the maple-flavored syrup that I choose to put in my lattes.
My mom and I are in Canada because my grandma's health took a hit; she was moved to hospice and died just a few days after. We immediately packed up our suitcases and booked it to see her and my other relatives. I didn't think we were going to spend more than a week here for some reason, so I only brought a couple of outfits - whatever fit in a small suitcase. (Oh, and I mean a couple of outfits. I have been wearing, washing, and wearing things again and again. To those of you who see me in the same gray and black shirts, I'm sorry. But I promise that they're clean).
We traveled through the night, and went directly to where grandma was staying. At this point, it was 4am and we both were incredibly tired, but we pushed through it. We got in the building, reached the floor she was on, and were "greeted" by a resident. My mom and I stopped at the community room where one man was quietly sitting in one of the chairs, silent and content. No, this was not the resident that greeted us... There was a woman walking slowly to the end of the hallway and back, saying, "Oh please help me!" My mom didn't seem worried, whereas I was about ready to run through the halls, calling for a nurse. It was when I was about to suggest my plan to my mom, that I realized what was happening: this lady was trying to escape.
I've heard stories of the elderly escaping their nursing homes, only to get lost in the streets somewhere, unable to find their way back. However, I've never been the "almost-accomplice" to one of these escapes before. I don't know if that woman completely forgot where she was, or literally just wanted to escape, but I desperately tried (and failed) to not make eye contact with her. Thankfully, my grandma's hallway was nearby, so we could just hastened on over there.
After she passed away, I was placed with a job in preparation of the funeral; it was to scan photos of my grandma onto my computer, and then transfer those photos on to a flash drive. I thought this would be the easiest task in the world, and I was the one that was graced with this task. Nope. Here is how it actually went:
- It took a good 30 minutes to figure out how to set up the scanner to my computer, which is a Mac, and then it took another 20 minutes to figure out how to actually scan the pictures. I like to think of myself as tech savvy, but I stand corrected. Give me a word document or powerpoint, and I got you. (Actually, I once totally messed up a presentation/big speech during my freshman year of college because I couldn't get my powerpoint to work. It was a speech about music, and obviously the music wouldn't play once I started speaking, because that would just be too much good luck for one person.)
There were some pictures that really stood out to me while I was scanning them and watching Arrested Development simultaneously:
Another memory I have of my grandma's nursing home, is when my mom, sister and I were walking past the community room where a lot of residential men and women were scattered about - most were in chairs, sitting quietly, and others were slowly but surely walking around, enjoying the scenery. The ones sitting by themselves were either watching TV or just staring blankly ahead. I was taking this all in while we were en route to my grandma's room, but were stopped when a middle-aged woman said abruptly, "I just peed my pants!" She had no expression on her face when she hunched over and quickly walked out of the room, but didn't leave without sharing that news with those around her. Despite the bladder issue, she seemed like a lovely, honest woman.
I really love being in Canada. At the time that I first started writing this post, I was actually in Canada, but now I'm back home. I have some really really great memories of that place, ones that my mom and I got to talk about during our walks. Some moments stood out to me more than others, and same for her. When discussing an event or time in your life that you and another person were apart of, it's interesting to see which details made an impact on them, and which ones they forgot entirely until you brought them up again. Sadly, I don't have any memories where my grandma didn't have Alzheimers and technically wasn't her usual self, but I do remember her playing her organ and singing - music was a big part of her life. She was a wonderful organist and pianist, and knew many hymns by heart. Back when she could still walk, my mom, sisters and I took her to a piano in the nursing home. She sat down, played her songs, and sang along to it - all by memory. This was while she had Alzheimers, which messed with her memory, but apparently didn't mess with her memories of hymns and other songs.
Grandma, you are missed. But I'm glad that you're in Heaven now, where your memory is completely restored.