#reverb13: reliving a moment
20/20: Hindsight is the one thing we never benefit from in the present. Is there one moment you wish you could do over?
I'm taking this question in a different direction because I try very hard not to have regrets. Even when I make mistakes and think, "if only I'd done this or said that," I work to recognize the importance of the choice I made or the things I said. However, there are moments I'd like to relive, to be part of again, so many wonderful moments and even ones that feel, to me now, bittersweet like conversations with my Grandmother who suffers from dementia and doesn't always know what day or year we're in. She loses names but not what we mean to her, which is significant. I was able to celebrate her birthday with her this year, and while it wasn't the kind of thing we might have done in the past, celebrating where she is now mattered to me. When someone suffers with a disease that affects the memory, it feels incredibly challenging to honor who they are and reconcile that with what you remember of them, particularly when they do not. So much of my girlhood was spent in awe of my grandmother. When I moved in with her, our relationship evolved into something I never expected and my admiration for her deepened. The connection between us is constant. I can see it in her recognition of me, and feel it as she squeezes my hand, or smiles. But what I see in her eyes now is very different. My awareness of that is what makes the time I am able to see Gran quite bittersweet.
Over the past two years, I have become fascinated with the way our memories make us who we are. Since dementia has attacked my Grandmother's brain, her personality has shifted. She is lighter, more easily comforted. Still quite clever, the sharpness of her opinions has tempered as she becomes more focused on playing the part of the "not sick" person. I've written about my struggle with this many times, and the ways I feel like I am mourning my grandmother before she is truly gone from me.
So if I could revisit a moment, I would not do anything differently. I would still try to soak up as much as possible from conversations and small gestures. I would enjoy watching her face light up as we sing "Happy Birthday." I would notice the pride in her face as she introduces us, her family, to nurses, friends and acquaintances. There is relief there, too, a recognition of being cared for. And boy, is she ever.