Wednesday, March 13, 2013

For Meemaw

One year ago today, I found out that my grandmother (my mom's mom) had lost her eight-year battle with Alzheimer's. I don't know why I haven't written about this yet, but a year later I think I am definitely in a place where I can. I think Meemaw deserves to be remembered in this little corner of the internet, and I will do my best to put into words what 23 years with the most loving grandmother has meant to me.

One of the things I loved about Meemaw was how genuinely excited she got whenever we came over to see her. Her face would light up as she exclaimed our name, and she would wrap us in welcoming arms, giving us a kiss on the cheek. She certainly didn't hide her love for her grandchildren. Some of my favorite memories growing up took place with Meemaw, laughing with my family over a dinner of her always delicious spaghetti casserole.

Needless to say, her joy for life was one the hardest things to see go when the symptoms of her Alzheimer's worsened. To see that light in her eyes disappear, to know that she no longer knew our names. I felt like I had to say goodbye to my grandmother a long time ago, and at the time I don't think I was mature enough to comprehend how heartbreaking it really was. Looking back now, I can see it. And it breaks my heart to write about it now.

But even in the darkest of situations, the light of Jesus still shines through. And that light in this situation came through my Pawpaw. If you were to ask me who my hero was, I wouldn't hesitate for a second to say it was Pawpaw. And it's all because of the example he provided as he loved Meemaw with a fierce love throughout her illness.

My Aunt Carol actually wrote an article shortly after Meemaw passed last year that beautifully illustrates how my Pawpaw cared for his beloved wife. I thought I would share a snippet of that with you since I couldn't have said it better myself:

"On a daily basis he fed, clothed, changed soiled diapers, bathed and attended to my mother’s needs. He had to take precautions for her safety by locking doors, putting away anything that was potentially dangerous, remaining largely confined to his home. Because of the confinement, gone were the days of regular exercise, gardening, or traveling. Gone, too, were the countless precious conversations that pepper the days in a marriage of a man and a woman. However, throughout her illness, Dad took my mother to church every Sunday. Several members of his church community commented to me that Alex was an inspiration as he lovingly and compassionately tended to my mother."

"As you may well know, Alzheimer’s disease changes the personality of the sufferer. They become easily frustrated, agitated and even aggressive. My father had to transact all his daily activities not knowing if she might turn irritable and unreasonable. Amazingly, he carried out of these everyday jobs with composure, grace and understanding. He knew not to take the difficult moods of my mother personally, recognizing the progression of her illness. I can only tell you that I, my sisters, our husbands and children witnessed my father’s faithful guardianship of my mother and saw it for what it was – a beautiful expression of agape Christian love."

"When dad called to tell me of Mother’s death I told him how honorable I thought he was. He tearfully replied in a matter of fact way, 'I enjoyed every minute of it.' By which he meant that it was his pleasure to serve his wife in her greatest hours of need and to serve the Lord who had done so much for him. It was eight years of difficult service joyfully accepted. What an example to which to aspire!"

It makes me tear up everytime I read that, because it is so true. I have never seen a more selfless man. God says that he works everything together for the good of those who love him, and I believe the good that will come from Meemaw's Alzheimer's is a generation committed to loving their spouses in the way that Pawpaw loved his. Loving each other even when it gets difficult. Even when you may not get that love in return. A generation committed to unconditional, godly love. 

In conclusion, we miss you so much Meemaw. Your memory continues to be treasured in our hearts, and in the godly legacy your marriage to Pawpaw has left behind. We miss you more than you can ever know!

{Flowers from Meemaw's grave, March 2012}


  1. I'm crying just readying this. Such beautiful sweet words you write about your grandparents. My grandmother is still alive with Alzheimer's, and I know the heartbreak you talk about. I thank God that he blessed us both with such incredible grandparents. My grandfather also cared for my grandmother with such patience and love until he passed away last June. Although it's sad, we both know that He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death' or mourning or crying or pain.

    1. Yes, you are so right Nicole. I'm so thankful for the promise of heaven and being made complete again in Him. We are praying for y'all as you continue to love on your grandmother as much as you can! This time left with her is so so precious.



Related Posts with Thumbnails