Nine years ago today, I was reduced to tears. I was in Cleveland. My future mother in law was busy at the table. I asked her what she was doing. She said she had to rearrange the tables. I looked at her very questioningly.
" I am very sorry, Nancy", she said. "Your grandparents, aunt and uncle left this morning. They can’t stay for the wedding."
Being a woman who worked with geriatric patients, she calmly told me about the night before. How at 3:40am, Grandpa found the hotel room empty. How he called my uncle and mom to help find Grandma. How they found her walking down the street in her nightgown calling "Jerry". We knew the onset of Alzheimer’s was hitting Grandma. But we didn’t realize how 2 days in a hotel would trigger such a serious event. Grandpa made the decision to get her home. He hoped I would understand.
Of course, I understood. We wanted Grandma to be safe and comfortable. We wanted her to be happy. I was hit hard by this because it had been a goal of mine to have my favorite Grandparents at my wedding. I was devastated by the cold hard reality that Grandma was dying. Her mind was leaving us with nothing but aluminum plaques to replace her precious memories. Would she still remember me? Would she remember Dr. Jay? What about our future children? Would she know them?
As my future father in law drove me to the wedding place, I was still in tears. He thought is was due to the wedding. It wasn’t. It was the loss of Grandma. She didn’t actually pass away for another year and a half. But that was the day we lost her.
The wedding itself was wonderful. Aunt Arlene was honored when I offered her Grandma’s corsage. Grandma Soleil was there. Our nephew Sam stepped up to give a toast by screaming "TOAST" into the microphone. And the Italian Wedding Soup never appeared.
But this day always makes me think of Grandma.