I have only one short day left before I leave for LA for the rest of summer. In between leaving Baltimore and heading to LA I stopped home in MN for a few days. As my years in college pass, the amount of time I spend at home dwindles, and this year I think it was quickly approaching less than two weeks. When you leave for college as an incoming freshmen there is comfort in knowing that it’s okay because you’ll be back home soon enough anyways. The reality, at least for me anyways, that the day I left home for my freshmen year was and will probably be the last day I would ever really live at home.
Being far away from home definitely has advantages. It’s nice to become your own person and gain independence. In my case, going to school on the east coast was an opportunity to finally get out the of the Midwest and see the country. Yet while you are away from home, you can miss out on so much. In my experience, many of my friends from high school attended local university, and I have since lost touch with them. It’s hard having life move on without you sometimes.
Eight months ago my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and in the past month her disease has rapidly accelerated. Since I’ve been home, I have been spending time with her, and for the past eight months my mom’s schedule has revolved completely around her. Alzheimer’s is such a devastatingly sad disease, not only for the individual but also especially for the families. Since seeing my grandmother at Christmas, she has declined. She is frailer, and now she doesn’t recognize her own home. Some nights she thinks she’s in Mexico, others she is in Alaska. Memories are something we cherish. They are the things we remember that bring us happiness or solace in hard times. Watching someone’s memories slip away is heartbreaking.
Yesterday my mom told me she doesn’t think she will make it through the summer. I guess I wasn’t surprised, but it was certainly something difficult to hear. Together we came to the conclusion that if she passed away while I was in Baltimore or California, I would not attend the funeral. It’s hard to know that I won’t get that opportunity to say goodbye because I’ve chosen to place myself so far from home, but I hate funerals anyways. So in this remaining time at home, I will continue to spend time with my grandmother, accepting the fact that it will likely be my last. But in the end, no matter what happens, I will still have my happy memories of her from before her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, countless Christmases and Easters and Birthdays to remember.