When your grandmother can’t remember your name it should be sad, but maybe it is just an opportunity to tell her more often how much you love her.
My parents were big believers in social programs that helped the community, so I was introduced to volunteering from a very early age. While I’ve done many volunteer programs (food banks, women’s services, etc.), the one that always sticks out in my mind was when my mother and siblings and I volunteered at a nursing home. As a tween, I helped put together fun games for the residents to play, put together movie viewings, and my favorite was just sitting and talking to different residents to learn more about them. Sure, the hospital-like smells and occasional melt-downs of patients were a little disturbing, but nothing prepared me for my one-on-one time with one specific patient. We started talking about her life, her memories of being young and learning to drive and then suddenly – like a switch – she started screaming that her dad wouldn’t give her the keys to the car. Confused, I tried to tell her it was ok, but she was very insistent, in an almost child-like state that her dad was destroying her life because he wouldn’t let her drive. Luckily, a nurse came to the rescue and told me she had dementia. I thought I knew what that meant, but in that moment, I was scared. It was like I was talking to someone that was not really in the present and didn’t know what was happening. I was frightened for her. Dementia is an awful disease and many families deal with the effects. It helps to discuss these things with your kids if you are facing it in your family. It’s confusing and scary to not understand why regressions happen and that it is no one’s fault, but there is a way to cope through love and acceptance.
Grandma Forgets is the heart-warming story of a family bound by love as they cope with their grandma’s dementia. Over the years, the little girl has built up a treasure trove of memories of time spent with Grandma: sausages for Sunday lunch, driving in her sky-blue car to the beach, climbing her apple trees while she baked a delicious apple pie, and her comforting hugs during wild storms. But now, Grandma can’t remember those memories. She makes up new rules for old games and often hides Dad’s keys. Sometimes Dad is sad because he has to hold onto the memories for both him and his mother now, but fortunately his daughter is only too happy to help him make new memories to share.
This is a warm, hopeful story about a family who sometimes needs to remind their grandmother a little more often than they used to about how much they care. She might not remember any of their names but she will always know how much she is loved.
About the Author: Paul Russell is a teacher, artist, playwright, author and father of two. His obsession with children’s literature stems back to his deepest desire to never actually grow up. Spending his days as a teacher, his nights are filled with a beckoning notepad and laptop. This is his first picture book.
About the Illustrator: Nicky Johnston is an educator, speaker and author/illustrator of children’s books. She is passionate about promoting emotional resilience in children and raising awareness of mental health issues. Her love of teaching sees her kept busy with school visits and presenting at workshops and conferences.
List Price: $ 17.99