You Forget, I Remember

BullWe called my grandfather ‘Grand Joe’. He was actually my step-grandfather, but he is the one I remember the most on my mother’s side, as he married my Nana when I was about 6 or 8.

I recently read a post from David McMahon regarding his mother, and losing her to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Being located overseas, I didn’t see the last year of my Grandfather’s life, and I feel guilty for being grateful that I didn’t. I have heard stories of how he was scared to go outside because he couldn’t remember the area that he lived in, and how he didn’t recognise some of the people he loved.

The last time I saw my grandfather was at Christmas time – we gave him a bull statue carved from stone – something I had picked up upon moving here. My grandparent’s home was full of ornaments and plates from various countries, so I thought it would fit in. He seemed to like it, and put it down on the table in front of him after unwrapping it to admire the carving.

I remember someone else in the room talking to him at that point, so he looked away to talk to them. When he returned his attention to the bull on the table, he looked pleasantly surprised. “Wow – that’s a nice bull. Where did that come from?” he asked, looking around the room. I told him that my husband and I had given it to him.

He then sheepishly looked at me and said “I said that already, didn’t I?”

At the time we all had a little laugh, but even then there was fear.

I really sympathised with my Nana, as taking care of Grand Joe was really difficult.

I am luckier in that I have mostly pleasant memories of him and his workshop, as he was a carpenter that used to do amazing things with wood – a real craftsman. Those memories are not tarnished with the years that came later and eroded this wonderful man.

I hope that the discovery related in David’s Post on How Alzheimer’s Touched My Family is spot on and that a cure is around the corner.

I remember you, Grand Joe.

Comment posted by ozlady
at 7/26/2007 9:04:12 AM

Marlayna – that is something to note, or put on a big sign around my neck if it happens to me. Thanks for visiting. :)

Cuckoo – thanks for your kind words, and I hope no-one that you love goes through it.

Comment posted by OHara
at 7/26/2007 9:27:24 AM

Well all these comments have already said it all. A wonderful tribute. Honest emotion beautifully expressed.

Comment posted by ozlady
at 7/26/2007 9:56:55 PM

Ohara (or should I call you Scarlet?? Sorry – just the first thing that sprung to mind)… thanks for the compliment. We should all be so lucky to have our own Grand Joe’s in our lives. Enjoy your weekend.

Comment posted by Cuckoo
at 7/26/2007 12:23:06 AM

What a great tribute to Grand Joe. It is really terrible to know someone so dear to you having such a disease.
I don’t think I have anyone in my family like Grand Joe but yeah, I could feel the pain through your & David’s posts.
Every single word said that.

Comment posted by marlayna
at 7/25/2007 10:48:52 PM

Hi there, I’m visiting from David’s blog. I was just reading an article on Alzheimer’s today, and it said that the victims respond negatively to the fear of those around them.
Something to keep in mind, I suppose.
I’m sorry for your loss…

Comment posted by ozlady
at 7/25/2007 6:00:14 PM

As I said to Sahil – Grand Joe had a good, long life… and while we hope that the end is swift, often it is not. I just wanted to remember him here, and while he is gone physically, I hope my memories of him endure.

Comment posted by ozlady
at 7/25/2007 5:56:03 PM

I would perhaps say that no one deserves to live the last years of their life like Grand Joe. He had a good, long life and it’s just sad that the last few years rendered his mind a blank.

Comment posted by ozlady
at 7/25/2007 5:52:30 PM

Yes – I have really great memories of this fine man. He was witty, fun, creative (oh the masterpieces he could create with a piece of wood) and one of the most upstanding men I have ever known.

Comment posted by ozlady
at 7/25/2007 5:48:58 PM


Really sorry to hear of your experience with this disease, and you are right – it’s cruel and slow on both the inflicted and those around them. Don’t be afraid to seek help. My Nana had someone to look in every week (from memory) and it was a real sanity check for her. Thanks for commenting.

Comment posted by Lady_T
at 7/25/2007 4:48:13 PM

I just read that and my eyes starting stinging with tears. Im so sorry to hear about your Grand Joe, God, such a terrible disease

Comment posted by sahil
at 7/25/2007 3:07:57 PM

Its really a terrible disease and I can understand that to have a loved one inflicted by it can be really heart wrenching.

Really hope that the drug turns out to be successful. No one deserves to live a life like Grand Joe.

Comment posted by Carol
at 7/25/2007 12:55:53 PM

He was loved very much, wasn’t he? It is written in every sentence how dear he was to you. What a beautiful tribute to his memory, I am glad you can recall all the better times together. Wonderful post.

Comment posted by Helena
at 7/25/2007 11:38:36 AM

Yes, I hope that a cure is on the way too. My mum is only in her mid 60s but already…. well, conversations have to be repeated 3 times, help on how to use the video/tv/phone given again and again… I put it out of my mind. But there is always a worry back there.

It is the cruelist of diseases. It makes the loss on those around the person long, drawn out and slow.

Comment posted by ozlady
at 7/25/2007 4:52:21 AM

Thanks David… it’s the memories that keep us going. When times are tough I often say “you don’t know the good without the bad,” but if there is nothing to compare, then how do you know any of it? I would despair if I couldn’t run through memories like running your hand over an old woven tapestry… the rough moth-eaten corners and the fine silken parts are all part of what makes up a life.

Thanks for dropping by!

Comment posted by david mcmahon
at 7/25/2007 4:40:05 AM

Hi Steph,

What a touching tribute. We all need Grand Joes in our life, don’t we?

Keep smiling


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