Dear Abuela, it’s me Melissa. Are you there?

Dear Abuela,

How are you? I pray all is well! How was your Thanksgiving? I had a wonderful time with Mom, Dad and the rest of the family.  We missed not having you here with us.  As the years have passed, I notice the hole that is in place with you not there.  The world seems a little less funny, and more quieter without your voice being heard.

I want to apologize for not visiting you more often.  Whenever I am in town to see Mom, she always makes mention of asking me to go see you.  I become uncomfortable at the thought, and I don’t know how to respond.  It’s not that I don’t want to see you Abuela, it’s just so hard to see the condition that you’re in.  I feel that I am looking at a woman who is not my Abuela, but it’s only a shadow of a once vibrant, strong Latina woman.  I swear that an alien life form has taken over your body.  The black, cold-less stare in your eyes as you search my face for an answer.  I want to yell and scream, “give me my Abuela back!” Why you? Life can be somewhat cruel as your dealt with a fate that you can’t change.

I remember when you first starting showing signs of Alzheimer’s.  You would repeat yourself over and over again, or you would just drift off into space.  I wonder at times if Mom is still in denial, I can hear her on the phone as she tries to have a normal conversation with you.  Who is she fooling? Who is she kidding? It’s obvious that you don’t respond.  I hear her insisting, “Mamí, she persists, “say good-bye.”  I want to tell her “STOP, she is gone, she doesn’t know who you are!” I get so angry that I want rip the phone from her very hands.  I know that Mom has to deal with it in her own way.  She talks about how much she misses you.  I feel her pain.  But, unlike me, she is there every week, making sure that you are safe and comfortable.

There was a time that you did come back to me.  I was sitting beside you in the living room.  Do you remember that day Abuela? You had just asked me for the tenth time how old were my two children.  All of a sudden, you turned to me and for a moment I saw life come back into your dark brown eyes, a smile appeared across your face as you assured me, “I remember you, I will never forget you.”  I cried like a baby as the emotions washed over me.  And just as I was going to respond Abuela, just like that…you went away again.

me, my mother and Abuela
me, my mother and Abuela

Abuela, I love you with all of my heart, and if could have one wish, it would be to make this mind-eating disease go away.  I miss your delicious food, your sarcastic wit, the chistès, but most of all, your words of wisdom.

So, good-bye Abuela, until we meet again somewhere between the past and now.  I promise that I will visit you soon.  I won’t be afraid anymore.

Until next time.

Love,

Melissa

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