Randomography: Visiting Alice...

DSC_0171

Alice is 84. She is my wife Allison's grandmother. She has Alzheimer's.

We decided to drop by her assisted living home last night to spend some time with her and her friends.

They always love Ava and really just want someone to talk to.

DSC_0024

DSC_0028

DSC_0030

Alice has been under nursing care for a few years now.

Once the forgetfulness was noticeable, she quickly progressed to a stage of more constant need.

She is beautiful.

DSC_0033

DSC_0034

Allison is #10 of 27 grandchildren.

I have no idea how many great grandchildren.

DSC_0035

DSC_0050

Occasionally, between blurs of confusion and repetitive questions, clarity prevails.

DSC_0053

DSC_0056

DSC_0070

DSC_0073

DSC_0075

DSC_0082

DSC_0086

DSC_0089

Against Allison's wishes, her grandmother won't take no for an answer.

She wants to give Allison her bracelet. Persistence triumphs.

DSC_0096

DSC_0101

DSC_0103

DSC_0118

DSC_0131

DSC_0137

DSC_0138

DSC_0140

DSC_0120

DSC_0121

DSC_0141

DSC_0165

DSC_0130

DSC_0150

DSC_0161

We can choose to be sad about the deterioration of Alice's memory and function, but it would seem that Alice is not choosing that route.

May we not forget the widows and widowers, the orphaned elderly.

45 waggish utterances thus far...:

Kim said...

BEAUTIFUL. Thank you for allowing us to experience the beauty of Alice and the tenderness that comes through your photographs. I am blessed to have both of my grandmothers (ages 90 & 83) living here on earth with me. I'm going to go call them now, just to say "I love you".

YT said...

These pictures made me cry; they are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing them with us.

mysecondjournal said...

Horrible disease..and oh my, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, you can SO tell that they are women from the same family.
I worry that she'll look for her bracelt and accuse someone of stealing it. Did you let the nurses know that she gave it to you?
PS..beautiful photos

Krista said...

My paternal grandmother, whom I loved tenderly, passed away this summer.
Something about the picture of Allison holding Alice's hand while wearing her bracelet made me break down and start bawling like a baby...
It's as the adage says, "pictures speak louder than words"
Thank you Ryan, those pictures are beautiful.

Valarie said...

Beautiful! We are going through something similar with our Grandmother. Its a very scary time. She has not had to go to an assisted living home yet. We are having to watch her around the clock now though. The other night at about 10:00 she decided to get ready for church and walk there. She got about 1 1/2 miles down the road before someone brought her back home.

Tracie said...

oh my, thank you so much for sharing that. your photography is beautiful but the story they tell is even more beautiful.

Melissa said...

Amen.

Norma said...

Beautiful gems.

Tiffanie said...

That was the most beautiful entry I have seen on your site.

Those pictures told a powerful story.

Christina M. Knudsen! said...

Going to visit my great-grandmother, who recently passed away, always involved walking down a hall filled with lonely elderly people. It was sad. And in all honesty, I hated going through it. But I thank you for this reminder of how it may have been sad, but that it was also beautiful and important.

maine626 said...

the pic with allison & her grandmothers hand, after the bracelet exchange, mad me cry. hard! i still am actually. you have to print that out for allison & frame it. beautiful.

Bridge said...

My Nana has Alzheimer's too. She's also in assisted living in Cinci...at a place with birds like those. Maybe one day she'll catch a glimpse of your beautiful girl. I wish I could see her more often. Thanks for sharing your pictures - they are so beautiful.

Southern Gal said...

Thank you for this today, Pastor Ryan. My aunt is bringing my 80 year old grandmother out to San Diego tomorrow on a plane from South Carolina to visit me. I know it will be a special time for all of us, and I will make sure to enjoy and try to remember each moment. Blessings.

T5M said...

Beautifully done!

mdvelazquez said...

Beautifully written and illustrated, Ryan. Thank you.

I lived with my grandmother for several years growing up. By my senior year of high school, I had returned to live with my mother when my grandmother became ill and came to live in my mother's home. I don't regret a single missed party or outing, or exhaustive hour spent in emergency, etc. I gave that year (her last) to take care of her. It has been more than 20 years and I still carry her with me, and the sweetest memories are those made during that last year.

Kerry said...

:) she is beautiful!

my grandfather had alzheimer's.... it is sad, but it was funny because my grandfather didn't seem to know he was suffering from it.

there is a member project through american express right now for alzheimer's. please donate if you are a member:

http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/OGSSPK

Kerry said...

i'm sorry i posted a comment about american express, i said donate, but i meant please vote.....

please vote!!

http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/OGSSPK

Namsab said...

Alice really is a beautiful lady. You can also imagine how she must've looked like as a young woman like Allison is.

I'm very thankful my grandmother is still very very healthy for her age. I don't know what I'd do if she ever got seriously ill, let alone the thought of losing her - she is one of the most important people in my life, not just because of our blood relation, but because of our relationship.

Kim Clark said...

Thank You....I am sooo touched by this post....Beautiful in so many ways.

The picture with both hands...so moving and so emotional for me...Though it has been 15 years now since she died, I can still see, feel, smell my Grandma's hands when I close my eyes.

Thank you again....Kim

SondreLyn said...

Thank you for that... how beautiful. I think I am going to go call my grandmother now

Carly said...

I am loving your Randomography posts. All three girls are beautiful.

Jessica said...

Gorgeous pictures, and such a beautiful thing that Alice has you guys to visit and spend time with her. I worked at a daycare inside of a nursing home and I saw daily what joy those kids brought to the residence's lives. I'm sure seeing your little one was such a treat for Alice.

amy wright said...

I haven't cried in a VERY long time. Beautiful pictures of three beautiful generations. :)

mommyknows said...

What a wonderful post. The photographs are gorgeous and the message even more so.

Mainly a midwife said...

It's like I was there watching their visit. Your photos were beautiful, poignant and I cried just looking at them.

Helen Ann said...

This makes me think of Aunt Helen...In a good way. I wish I could still visit her here on Earth. Wow...I am actually tearing up...Thank you for the good memories!

BTW - Is this at the place on Ferguson? Bentley used to visit there!

Jenny said...

May you all be blessed, Amen.

Thank you for a beautiful post, Ryan.

Debbie said...

Very beautiful and touching post. The bracelet will mean so much to Allison and someday Ava. My Grandmother who I adored passed away from Alzheimers. Someday maybe there will be a cure for it.

Jill said...

I have been following your blogs and this one really touched my heart. My boyfriends' dad was diagnosed with alzheimer's at the young age of 55, it is painful to watch. Some days he says nothing to us and some days he does and those words are so special! Gorgeous photos!

Jennifer Moore said...

I wonder if all Alzheimer's units of assisted living homes have little birds? My grandma, who has Alzheimer's, also lives in assisted living and they too have birds.

It's a sad disease and I think you're right. They all just want someone to talk to.

She Knits Flying Monkeys said...

The images of Alice - she is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. You said more with the photos than words could have done. My Dad had Alzheimer's. Please do remember those who cared for them until the end.

Paris Mallon said...

All the girls in your family are beautiful, seemingly inside AND out!

melanie said...

Allison's beautiful. Look at her all dressed up and sitting on the floor at her grandma's feet, holding her hand...like Alice is all that matters in the world.

Caitlin said...

Ditto what everyone already said. So now I have to add two not so poignant things. We live in Massachusetts and Great Grandma is in a nursing home where they too have the little birds in about 4 huge cages! What's the therapy bird thing about? And this is how sick I am. Looking at the picture of your daughter (happily) rolling on the floor all I could think of was the germs. Sick I told you. I have a hard time taking her to see her Great Grandma because she'll do just that and then put her fingers in her mouth and all I can think is what the *#$& is she going to get!? We should be taking pictures though, I never thought of that, it seems too sad a reminder of her in bed on oxygen, but the hands, hmmmm.....
P.S. I'm here through PW, love your cooking posts over there.

Kimberly said...

Simply beautiful. Thank you Ryan.

Cara said...

Thank you for this blog. I'm a nurse in Geriatrics...granted a new nurse, but it is so sad, to see the elderly who are forgotten! They are so sweet and have so much to offer and tell of! Hope that you continue to enjoy this wonderful age and the wisdom that comes with it, and the Joy it can bring in the sorrow!

foreverfoldinglaundry said...

Yesterday would have been my beloved Mamma's 84th birthday. I miss her. This was so beautiful - Alice is lucky to have the three of you, and vice versa. Thank you for sharing your visit.

Jen said...

I loved these pictures. It brought tears to my eyes. I was an Activity Director for an Alzheimer's/ Dementia Unit back before I had children. I loved every day with those amazing people I worked for. I find it sad that we so easily forget the older generation.

Thank you for not forgetting.

Michelle said...

Amen. She is beautiful.

Octamom said...

So beautiful--particularly love the shot of her hands...

Just recently lost my great-aunt at the age of 96. She had dealt with Alzheimer's/dementia for the last several years of her life. While it was very hard for family to see her like this, she was living back in a very happy time. The treasure of her younger memories made for a beautiful covering.

Blessings!

3kids2jobs1dog.com said...

My mamaw has alzheimer's too. It is very sad. I promise I am not an internet stalker, but I have left many comments about how I live in the Cincinnati area too and the senior living place Allison's grandma is in looks just like the senior living place where my boyfriend is a chef and it's in the Colerain area. Would you mind emailing me to let me know if she is at Atria? If so, I would love to have him do a little something special for her. Your depiction and your photos really touched me. theyearofme{at}hotmail{dot}com

Shawnda said...

Oh, this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing this with us!! My husband is a photographer too-your pics are great! My grandma has alzheimers as well...I desperately wish we could be near her to serve her and love on her....the 'rest' of James 1:27! Everytime the Lord burdens my heart for the widow....my grandma is the FIRST to come to mind. Praise God that you are there so that you can love and serve yours! Beautiful!!!

Jamie said...

I found my way over here from "Mainly A Midwife"'s blog. Beautiful photos, beautiful baby, and beautiful Alice. Thanks for sharing!

Somedays are Worth Remembering said...

That is beautiful. I have many fond memories of visiting my grandmother in an assisted living enviornment while she was alive. It is a bright moment in a dull life, even if they wont remember who you are. Thank you for your visual reminder of love and James 1:27

jenny said...

Just curious where Alice lives...it looks just like the place where my Grandma is. Miller's in Wakarusa, Indiana.
nice to know other people take their kids in to see their Grandmas too. I never see kids when I am there.