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Dementia Humor: Grand Breakthrough

Grandmama and Granddaddy Martin

My grandparents with their beloved poodle Mimi.

(My grandmother would have been 115 today, January 24, 2020, if she had not passed away a month before my first child was born in 1994. I love to imagine her laughing in heaven--at her jokes and everyone else's!)

“Where're we going?” Grandmama, buckled in tight, sat in the passenger’s seat of her ancient sedan.

"We're going to Loris, to the Doctor’s office.” (Mother took Grandmama everywhere: to the doctor’s, to the hairdresser’s, to Sunday school.)

“How long’s it going to take us?” Grandmama stared out her window; her bright eyes seeming to take in the scenery. Mother knew better. Dementia clouded all of Grandmama’s experiences these days.

“Well, it’s about 15 miles,” she told her mother, “ It'll take us about 20 minutes.”

“Oh.” Grandmama nodded and slipped back into the mystery of her musings.

It was hard for Mother. Time was when she and her mother could talk without pause about anything. Once a vibrant, feisty, confident woman, Grandmama had been slowly slipping away for years. This meek soul who now inhabited her body often seemed like a stranger to her beloved daughter, my mother.

In a moment, though, Grandmama perked up again.

“Where’re we going?” she asked, looking over at the one person she always remembered.

“We’re going to Loris, Mother, to the Doctor’s office.”

“Hmm. How long you think it’s going to take us?” Grandmama asked, clueless.

“Well,” Mother said, “It’s about 15 miles. It should take us about 20 minutes.”

“Oh.” Grandmama nodded and turned back towards the passenger window.

The silence didn’t last long.

“Where’re we going?” Grandmama, smiling innocently, looked at Mother, waiting for her to answer.

Mother took a deep breath. “Actually,” she said, “We’re, uh, going to the Doctor’s office. It’s in, ya know, Loris.”

Grandmama nodded, but wanted to know more. “So, how long’s it going to take us to get there?”

Mother unfazed replied again, “It should take us about 20 minutes. It’s about 15 miles.”

“Oh,” Grandmama said. “Well. I guess I ought to know by now. I've asked you three times.”

About the Author Aileen Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.

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2 comments
Stan Pylant says January 25, 2020

Love it Aileen - my father lives in an Alzheimer’s home here in the Augusta area. I’ve had these sort of conversations many times. The home is wonderful and they take good care of my father. Plus he has good friends there. Recently I sat outside with my father and one of his “buds” and they talked (mostly gibberish) for a long time - I actually have some this conversation on video. I understood only a word or two here and there and remember thinking I don’t know this language. They are responding to each other, pointing to my tennis shoes and laughing! It was a beautiful afternoon....

Reply
    Aileen Lawrimore says January 25, 2020

    Oh Stan thanks for sharing this! I love that you find the joy in the moments. Mother taught us to do that with Grandmama and it made life so much richer with her! Thanks for reading and for sharing.

    Reply
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