My maternal grandmother started showing signs of memory loss in the late 90s, but didn't get officially diagnosed until early 2000s. After getting diagnosed with Semantic Dementia, I later found out that she had a mini-stroke sometime in the 90s or before then. Before she started showing signs of Dementia, I would go to several Broadway shows, library bus trips, and some other fun places with her. She still drove me around (she decided on her own to stop driving), shared some stories with me from her childhood, was still able to navigate NYC, could still e-mail, type on the computer (she was a secretary until 1994), dial/answer a phone, knew who we were, recognized our names/voices/faces, could still use kitchen appliances, and other basic functions. It wasn't until 2011-2014 when things got really bad. Though my mom and I were living with her, she had already forgotten our names, who we were, basic bodily functions, couldn't feed herself, and mentally was no longer the only grandparent of mine who did everything with me.
I have many happy memories with her that I will always treasure-such as when we baked cookies with blueberry filling inside, how to make homemade croutons, made a Goldilocks pillow out of yarn with a pocket sewn in front, helping her with gardening (she grew her own chives), and many other fun things. She used to cook for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but at the very end my mom took over that job. I remember she would use leftover turkey innards to make turkey soup with carrots and some other vegetables. She showed some classic films-such as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho with Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, The Wizard Of Oz with Judy Garland, Meet Me In St. Louis with Judy Garland, The Harvey Girls with Judy Garland, Gigi with Leslie Caron, and I Love Lucy. She finally went to sleep the last week of December 2013 and never woke up, but wasn't dead or in a coma either. My mom called an ambulance, they carried her to the hospital, she had a pre-written health proxy saying no life-prolonging treatment and no palliative care, so they put her in a nursing home where she stayed for a week until her passing.
The last night I saw her was emotionally scarring. My mom held her hand and she reciprocated the gesture, but didn't have the strength to open her eyes and at least blink. She did acknowledge our presence though. When my mom and brother visited her the next night, they said she looked white as a ghost, was non-responsive, and was pretty much in a coma. My mom asked them to notify her immediately when she dies-even in the dead of night. They did as she requested, but not without a time of death. It seems they found her around 1-1:30 AM January 8th/9th 2014, but it's possible she could have died in her sleep between 11:30PM-12:30-AM. After her passing, I got to thinking about stuff. Did I really want to spend the rest of my life living with my mom and feeling trapped? During mid-2014, I got rid of all my video game devices, consoles, DVD player, TV set, movies, DVDs, VHS tapes, and etc. I decided to get a job, get a life, move out, and become independent. I graduated from college on May 10th, 2010 with a certificate in Information Processing-meaning business/computers.
I had spent May 2010-January 2014 taking care of Mimi (that's what we called my grandmother)-while my mom went to work everyday. It was very stressful, I wasn't working or having a life. I was drained of energy and decided to look for clerical work that very year. Found a position, but didn't last long. I was out of work again and then found another clerical position in late-2015. From the end of 2015 till end of March 2018, it was beyond stressful. I may have developed PTSD and considered quitting, because the emotional and verbal abuse wasn't worth minimum wage. Luckily another clerical position within the company lot had an opening for someone like me, so when the position was available to me I took it. The company I transferred to was/is a clinic that happens to be affiliated with my old organization. It used to be apart of their organization, but became a separate company and thus enabling me to continue being a clerk on their property. This year due to COVID-19, I started watching Golden Girls clips on YouTube. it got me to start re-evaluating my life, make changes, and start achieving these goals of mine while I am still young enough.
Though on the outside I appear to be a young woman, I have an old soul. When I first came across The Golden Girls, it was decades ago. I really liked the theme song, actresses, and characters. Those of you might have enjoyed watching The Golden Girls with your grandparents. I remember watching it with my grandmother and thought of how cool they were. To my readers who have never heard of The Golden Girls, you can find it on YouTube and elsewhere. It's possible Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia remind you of your own grandmother/mother. Dorothy was played by the very masculine, but talented Beatrice Arthur star of Maude. While watching the Golden Girls on YouTube, I was inspired to write my autobiographical bucket list. Throughout our lives, we change mentally, physically, and emotionally-which means not all of us are the same people we were a few decades ago. We have grown in more ways than one. Like Dorothy, I'm sarcastic. Like Rose, I take things literally. Like Blanche, I am friendly. Like Sophia, I am witty. Writing my autobiographical bucket list got me thinking about who I was decades ago, who I am now, and who I will be in the future.