April 11th 2016
Today is my Grandad’s 42nd birthday. If that seems like an odd statement to read, then you should probably know that my Grandad decided that he would start to age backwards when he turned 60. Eighteen years later he’s now younger than my Mum, which is a weird dynamic.
He’s a funny old bloke, but he’s one of my favourite people in the entire world. He makes me laugh with his eccentricities and sense of humour, and I find him innately interesting. Every Tuesday he and I go to the driving range together, and he always tells me stories from his days in the army. And the next week he’ll tell me the same stories again, and they’ll be as interesting to me as they were the first time he told them.
He’s got dementia, you see. So he often ends up repeating himself. Sometimes he tells the same story twice within the space of five minutes, but it’s not worth pointing it out to him. He’s in a funny and ironic state of denial where he knows that he has memory problems but forgets how serious it is.
For me it is a lot easier to deal with than for my Mum and for my Grandma, I see him at his best, Grandma deals with him at his worst and then Mum mops up the pieces.
We went out for a nice birthday lunch today and Mum showed him how to take a selfie. Which is funny because about a year ago my sister taught Mum how to take a selfie, and now that wisdom is being imparted up the generations.
He has a load of mannerisms and stories, and phrases, and I always write the best ones down on my phone. I document the things he says or the jokes he makes because I want to remember them for him.
I think it helps him that I can be patient with him, and gradually he’s becoming self-aware of his repetition, because whenever he struggles to think of the end of a story I usually finish it off for him, (fill in the blank, if you will) and he jokes “See, I’ve told you this story so many times you know it better than I do!”
And I don’t care if I’ve heard it before, because to him it is the first time he is telling the story, and he tells it with such enthusiasm that it stays interesting however many times I’ve heard it. If it’s important enough for him to tell it, then it’s important for me to hear it.
Until tomorrow, tell me once more for good luck.