Family

by jennine on March 11, 2010

First off, I have to apologize for the lack of posts this week. This year has been particularly stressful. The conference, the move, and now…it’s my family. I feel like I can’t be all things to all people these days, and right now, it’s my family who needs me here the most.

My grandmother, my father’s mother was the one person in the family who always made me feel definitely related. She was the one who loved fashion, she loved make up, beautiful things, loved talking and socializing, and the other person in my family who is left-handed. She would sew most her clothes until arthritis claimed her hands, she had more shoes than anyone I’ve ever met. She tended her garden and kept her house in order for as long as she could walk around the house. ‘You have to keep moving, or you’ll die.’ she said.

A few years ago, she would talk about dying, not in any morbid way…but most of her friends were dying off. She would say… “As long as I have my mind, and if I can die in dignity, I will be happy.”

Then it happened.

She had an accident, and was hospitalized with where they diagnosed her with Alzheimer’s disease. She was losing her mind. It went unnoticed as we all thought she was a bit spacey, but it was more than that. She had to be cared for, so my grandfather and she packed up and moved to Hawaii to be closer to my dad and uncle. That was two years ago.

Sometimes death is sudden, sometimes it’s not. I’m here in Hawaii now, visiting with my grandparents, my grandfather is doing ok, it’s very hard for him. My grandmother, who used to be so talkative and vibrant sits in a wheelchair unable to have a conversation. I think she recognizes me, but I’m not so sure. She’ll hold my hand and tell me she loves me, but she’s never said my name. She recognized my mom, who hasn’t seen her in a decade, but it’s also hard to say.

Alzheimer’s disease is so hard on everyone, the person who suffers, the family. I don’t really know how to describe it, but the woman in the wheelchair, she isn’t the same person I have known my whole life. I miss my grandmother, she was crazy, but I loved her that way.

The only good thing about this is my family has come together in this. My parents were divorced when I was young, and I’ve never been one of those people who wished my parents to be together… they weren’t a good couple. But, yesterday, for the first time in god knows how long, 10? 20? 25 years? My mom, my dad, my sister and I have sat at the same table and talked. It’s really been so long, I’ve forgotten what that was like. Sitting with the people I’m most related to, coming together in a time of need, really meant so much. Yesterday, my mom and I drove my dad to the airport, it was the only time in memory that the three of us had been together. I felt like a little girl sitting in the back seat, strangely content…even though my parents have much suitable partners in their new spouses than they ever were to each other.

I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about my family on this blog, it never really made sense to. This is the place where I come to have fun and talk about fun things and some of the more personal things in my life, seems to belong to a different world. But this week I really need to take the time to spend with my family, because we really don’t have that much time in this world.

Anyway, thanks for bearing with me, I should be back and posting on Monday.
Have a wonderful weekend my dears!

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March 12, 2010 at 2:59 pm

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1 Michelle March 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Oh no :( Alzheimer’s is a terrible terrible nasty disease, I can’t imagine watching it wreak havoc on someone I loved (or being a victim of it, how terrifying…). *hugs* I hope everything goes as painlessly as possible - which sounds like an awfully bleak hope, but I hate trite well wishings and it sounds like that’s the best thing that could happen right now.
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2 Laurie March 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Thinking of you and your family!
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3 apparellel March 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm

i’m so sorry to hear about your grandma. i lost mine last year and she was to me like your grandma is to you. it is so hard. at least your family has come together. i don’t know why it takes things like this to bring people together sometimes. take care of yourself.

xxx
t
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4 Poochie March 11, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Do what you need to. My grandmother is in this same situation and it is very hard, I know.
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5 Sheena March 11, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I am so sorry to hear this. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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6 SOS! Save Our Shoes March 11, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I’m very sorry to hear that about your grandmother. It’s a very difficult condition to cope with, and I understand how difficult this must be for you to deal with. I wish your family all the best, and it’s times like this that brings a family closer. I hope you’re ok lovely.
xx-LJ from SOS!
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7 Jennifer Nicole March 11, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I’m so sorry your family has to go through this.

As my grandmother’s Alzheimers worsened, I felt the same way you did. The woman that looked like my grandmother wasn’t my grandmother, and she became less so every day. I began to grieve for her before she ever passed on physically, because her essence, who she was, was already gone.

It’s a long process, so try to give youself a little extra emotional space if you can. I’m positive your readers won’t mind.
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8 Lauren March 11, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I don’t know you personally but I wanted to say that I’m thinking of you. Take all the time you need. We have plenty to dig through in your archives, you guys take care in these precious moments. x
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9 raquel gratis total March 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm

i am so sad about your moments….kisses
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10 Nickie Frye March 11, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Wow, your gramma IS a blessing! Not only for the way she impacted your life when you were little, but look at how she’s brought healing to your family! I think it’s wonderful to share something personal on your blog. Peace to you & your family. xoxo
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11 Deepti March 11, 2010 at 3:26 pm

That was a very touching post. I am not good with this emotional thing. All I can say is that my thoughts and prayers are there with you and your family.

Love.
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12 jesse.anne.o March 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm

I am so sorry to hear this. I’m glad you’re able to show up for your family!
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13 elena daciuk March 11, 2010 at 4:09 pm

first…my heart goes out to you…i have been in the midst of a family member & alzheimers…never an easy thing…when you were describing your grandmother…it made me think of mine…who left this earth about 10 years ago…but just like yours…she was most like me…loving the fashion..sewing…i remember long talks with her while she was sitting at her sewing machine…i love that her singer sewing machine is now in my home…it always reminds me of our time together…

my thoughts & prayers are with you…
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14 WendyB March 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm

((hug))

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15 eyeliah March 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I am so sorry to hear that, my oma and nana are both really sick all of a sudden and I am worring about them constantly. They are both in other cities so it is hard to be far away at this time. My prayers will include your family now as well, gosh that list is getting longer and longer lately. Take care.
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16 Ashe Mischief March 11, 2010 at 6:12 pm

It’s so easy to forget that as bloggers…. there’s life outside of the internet. But I’m glad that you did bring up your family and shared it with us. We’ll be around. Family comes first, and you need to be there, spend time with them, build those memories… take all the time you can get.

<3
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17 K-Line March 11, 2010 at 6:16 pm

So sorry to hear about this, J. I’m thinking of you and your family. At least you’ve had a chance to see your parents come together in a peaceful way. Just wish it were under less stressful circumstances. xo
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18 lei ann March 11, 2010 at 6:24 pm

cherish this time with your family. i was lucky that when my grandparents passed, it wasn’t quick or unexpected, so i had the time to say my goodbyes. it’s good you have the chance to see her & spend this time with her. take care & we wish you all well.
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19 DWJ March 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Family is the most important and in a funny way, your community of readers, fellow bloggers, friends, etc become another kind of family for you too. In December my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I just told my readers that my Dad was sick, nothing else and the amount of emails, comments and tweets I got were amazing. They made me realize that my blog was a great distraction when I had to wait for surgeries and procedures with my Dad. Thankfully, he’s okay and is going to make it but I know I made it because of my cyber family. I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother but happy that you had such a wonderful time surrounded by family. It does fill you up with so much love and joy.
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20 hiyaluv March 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm

wow. thanks for the heartfelt post. one thing is for sure. life is too short. you just never know what is going to happen and we cannot get these moments back so good for you for taking time for your family! be well Jennine. :) gina
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21 Marie March 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm

My godmother (who was pretty much like a grandma/second mom growing up) was crazy and hilarious and had a dirty sense of humor (prob was a BIG influence on me…) and after she had a stroke she wasn’t the same at all.. so I can understand what you are going through a little bit. It’s great you are spending this precious time with your family. I have you in my thoughts Jennine! Hugs and hugs and hugs.

xo
Marie

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22 Emily the Panda March 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm

i’ve truly learned family first these past few years more than any other time… and all you can do with your aging family members is love them as much as you can.
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23 Alicia March 11, 2010 at 10:55 pm

You have my thoughts, J. My cousin’s grandmother is suffering with this is and it is heartbreaking and terrifying to witness.

Be strong, my dear.
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24 Alida March 11, 2010 at 11:44 pm

I don’t know you personally, but I’m so sorry to hear about this.
Illness in the family is rough, but I’m glad you were able to reconnect with both your parents
My thoughts go out to you and your family

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25 Ondo Lady March 12, 2010 at 5:18 am

Take as long as you need!!!
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26 Sally March 12, 2010 at 7:03 am

Oh Jennine, my heart goes out to you.
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27 Kyla March 12, 2010 at 7:08 am

I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. I had the same relationship with mine. Unfortunately, I lost her several years ago. Luckily, my last visit with her was amazing and she left us before her mind left her. It still sucks, though. Enjoy the moments you have with your family. They’re truly priceless.
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28 PAPERFASHION March 12, 2010 at 7:29 am

I’m sorry about your grandmother… that’s hard. Hang in there!
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29 Mallory @ MissMalaprop.com March 12, 2010 at 8:32 am

I’m so sorry to hear about what your family is growing through. I haven’t dealt with Alzheimer’s personally, but my boyfriend’s dad has been going through a similarly long and painful to watch process with Parkinson’s. It’s sad to see anyone go through that kind of long, drawn out death, and it’s equally sad to see how it affects the people around them. I’ll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

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30 kylie jo March 12, 2010 at 8:47 am

I am terribly sorry about your family struggles. :(
Thanks for sharing with us, keep thinking positive, and I wish you the best. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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31 Mousevox Vintage March 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

I, too, was very close to my grandmother. I will be keeping you in my thoughts. xo.
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32 Patti March 12, 2010 at 10:03 am

Aw Jennine- Your post made me cry because I went through this with my own Mom. It is a very hard illness to deal with and watch the person you love slip away, Thinking of you.

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33 Make Do Style March 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Take care and thank you for such a lovely heart felt explanation xx
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34 jennine March 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Thank you all so much for your wonderful wishes, it really, really means a lot to me.

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35 Jennifer March 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Oh I’m so sorry you and your family are going through this. Just last week I came back home from Indiana where we buried my husband’s grandmother who was also claimed by Alzheimer’s. She suffered with it for about 5 years. I think it hurt my husband the most because he always said that of everyone in his family, I reminded him of his grandmother the most, she had a profound sense of style and loved the finer things in life and I think it really hurt him that I was never able to know her like he did. My great-grandmother was also claimed by Alzheimer’s and she suffered with it for even longer, 10 years I think before she died. It really is a terrible disease and I hope one day they can come up with a way to predict who will be afflicted and prevent it before it take hold of their mind.
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36 bella vintage March 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Hi Miss..totally get you, it’s sometimes amazing how something good could come out from something so sad in our lives..it’s nice that you have this time to spend with your family…my condolences on the loss of your Grandmother sounds like she lived a good live and that’s something you can celebrate with memories..
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37 SarahJayne @ Goldmine Trash March 12, 2010 at 3:35 pm

So sorry to hear the sad news. She sounds like an amazing person, and I understand why you’d shift your focus to this instead! My deepest condolances to you and your family. Don’t feel obligated to write and write if you don’t feel up to it. You have every right to mourn and take some time off yourself and your loved ones.

FYI, it seems like it’s been a weird week on the interwebs anyway. Most of my favorite fashion blogs have been slower this week, Etsy did some redesigning and I think this made it a slow sales week over there, etc. etc. When it rains, it pours.

Please take care.

-SJ

PS, I’m left handed too : )
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38 Robin Punsalan March 12, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Not sure how I stumbled upon your blog. It was a night of random click from one image to a next and see where you land. Interestingly, this post hits very close to my own personal life/situation now. My husband and I recently had to leave Las Vegas in a matter of a week. My father had a stroke. Our family is scattered. Artistic, gypsies and I’ve lived like this for years. I am now in Florida caring for my father. I can do my work anywhere, which is a luxury. However, between that which is about ‘me’. I find myself having to shave him and recognize the care and tenderness that is bigger than any of us until we see the weakness and change in our parents, grandparents. Thank you for posting this. I, too, love to blog on images, joyous things and sit back and relax. Your post is a reminder of that humanity of ‘family’ that is essential.

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39 Robin Punsalan March 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Such a treat and joy to have stumbled here, indeed. I bookmarked it and look forward to more reading. Blessings to you and your family.

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40 Jinah March 12, 2010 at 9:40 pm

My condolences, Jennine! No rush or pressure. We’re all still fans and understand that real life takes precedence.
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41 Sister Wolf March 13, 2010 at 1:55 am

Love and blessings to you. There’s nothing like grief to rearrange your priorities in life. I’m so glad your parents were able to step up to the challenge, for them and for you.

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42 Veronica March 13, 2010 at 8:43 am

jennine,

my thoughts r with u during this time - ur blog readers will b hear when u return with ur next posting - best V.
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43 Dru March 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I hope you’ll be ok, and be able to get through this time- it can’t be easy for you, and of course you are more important than the blog- you don’t need us to tell you to do whatever it takes to deal with this!

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44 Clare March 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm

So sorry to hear that, it’s an awful disease and I hope you’re all coping as best you can.

iliketweet.blogspot

x
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45 The Seeker March 13, 2010 at 3:28 pm

How I understand you, my dear!!!
Recently my mother passed away, but I had already lost her a bit to Alzheimer’s. Fortunately she recognized me until the end.
Family is indeed a priority, enjoy as much as you can to be with them or you will regret when you can’t. Make good memories so you can remember and smile.
You’re in my thoughts and believe sometimes it feels good to share our feelings with our fellows.
Take care and take your time…
Love
xoxo
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46 Clare March 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Oh Jennine, I’m so sorry for you and your family. My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I was sixteen, and we spent the next five years slowly watching her fade away. I know how painful this is, and how important it becomes to be with your family while you can. My thoughts are definitely with you.
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