My Grandmother—my kind, gentle Grandmother—has Dementia. There’s nothing smile worthy about that. It’s awful. It’s cruel and it’s quick.
Although she is physically still here, I have lost such a large part of my precious Nan. I have lost the shine in her eyes as she recounts the moment of my birth. I have lost the songs that she used to sing in the kitchen. I have lost my biggest fan.
And it cuts deeper than I care to admit.
But then there was today when I smiled my most glorious smile.
I asked my Grandfather how he was feeling about it all and, as usual, he lamented the facts. The love of his life was missing most of the time. Tragic. Unfair. Confusing.
I asked him if he needed some time away. I told him he should take some time away.
‘I won’t leave your Grandmother,’ he said, firmly. ‘I can’t leave her.’
I looked down at my joyous baby boy who played on his colourful mat, oblivious to the pain.
I can’t believe this.
Is it really possible for the human spirit to shine through this awful disease?
Is love really that strong?
It turns out, love really is that strong.
And don’t you ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
If they do, you tell them this story.
Tell them about the smile you once heard of.
Tell them about that sweet old man who refused to leave the woman he loved, even for an hour, because he loved her.
Love really is that beautiful.
It really, really is.