“ I´m still here ”

My grandmother lost her ability to speak very quickly, but when she did speak, we tried to maintain the conversation no matter how bizarre it may seem. We knew that even though the words she spoke might not make sense in that specific context, there was something she needed to tell us so we made every effort to make sure she felt us close. It is possible that she did not even understand what we were saying, but we still communicated. I believe it was a way of telling each other: “I am still here.”

When she finally did lose all ability to speak, it through her gaze that we communicated. Normally her eyes stared as if lost but in those few moments when our eyes did meet, she did not have an empty glance. I don’t really know how to explain this; there were no words and they were unnecessary.

Glances and touch substituted words. She gave us her hand and that was all that was needed. It is curious how much touch can express and how we seem to have forgotten it , no?

My grandmother without Alzheimer had quite a complicated character, quite gruff, but with the sickness her character became sweet in the way I believe all grandmothers should be with their grandchildren. So, I can say that having Alzheimer permitted her to be my grandmother.

I choose to become a nurse because of my grandmother’s illness. I knew from the very beginning that I would not cure anyone working as a nurse, but what I could do was to be with patients and comfort them so that those terrible moments would be a bit less so. It was worth it! So I guess I owe my vocation to my grandmother. Also, since she passed away I have learnt not to leave things for tomorrow, to say “I love you” as soon as I feel it. And I have learnt never to go to bed angry with my family or my friends. This experience has taught me to value life as it deserves to be valued.