Hello My Name is Squirrel!

I am bra-less so let’s be J-less!

For those of you who have not seen the movie Up, it’s a must see in my book. The phrase “squirrel” is a common joke around my friends and family when we are feeling very distracted or even forgetful.

I would like to tell you about my Mema. Mema is a common term in the South for grandma. I’m not sure if I should talk about her in the past tense or the present tense in all honesty. She is still alive; however, who she used to be is gone. Mema has Alzheimer’s and every trace of her is gone. She is just a shell.

My grandmother was a wise woman but not the kind of grandma that just gave you everything you wanted because you pouted. She actually spanked us and put us on time out. My other grandma spoiled (still does) us rotten. Mema worked her whole life and wasn’t a typical housewife. She didn’t know how to cook but kept a clean home. She traveled around the US and Europe in a singing quartet and loved to paint. Her voice was amazing, it probably still is if she knew how to form words.

The woman who stands before me today is still a beautiful woman but usually has a scowl on her face. I wonder if it’s from the confusion or actual anger. Studies talk about people with Alzheimer’s coming angry… but the why isn’t really explained.

Her timeline is completely lost. She can no longer form full sentences. When you talk to her and ask how her day was, her replies are similar to:

You know. And this and we did that with the that, you know. It was … nice.

She doesn’t remember the words for the simplest of things any longer. I mourned the loss of my Mema a few years ago. I love her so much but she is no longer with us.

At most, we are just making her comfortable until she passes with a physical death. We just moved her into a long-term facility and they have a cat that all the residents can play with. My grandma loves cats. I hope she can find comfort and happiness in her last years here with us.

Sharing with you the realities of Alzheimer’s, everything but sugar.


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