Memories

Sapphire is a 20 year old university student who lives the most simplest and ordinary life that any student can. however sapphire's whole life and world are spiraled out of control when a bomb shell is dropped on her family.

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1. Memories stay with you forever

Family is all that matters right?   As long as you have a family you can be truly happy and content with your life. Family is like all the money and jewels in the world combined, but it is worth a lot more to me. All the closeness and love every family has I grasp that with both hands, hold it close to me and never ever let go. But I have a reason for that. A reason more than others do, a meaningful one. You see there was a day a few years ago, a day that flipped `everything I know and live for upside down. The day I discovered my grandmother had Dementia. 

If I remember rightly it was raining. It fell gently on the window, making small pitter-patter sounds as it landed. I was sat on my laptop, completing a difficult essay for university. I kept getting distracted; I often found it difficult to concentrate. I would either be checking my blog or have the wind battering and howling at my door frames and whistling only slightly in my ear. I’m useless at staying focused for extended periods of time which was probably why my Uni essays were finished – although a tiny bit rushed - rather close to the deadline. My mind often wanders off into a dream like state causing me to pay no attention  to the outside world but this would stop me pulling my hair out due to stress.   I’m halfway through my final paragraph when the phone rang. I sighed as I shoved my laptop onto the table and rushed into the kitchen to answer the landline, the loudness of it echoing on the walls and ringing in my ears.
“Hello?” I said into the phone.
“Sapphire? It’s mum.”
“Oh hello mother! So nice of you to call...” I said plainly.
"I'm... I'm sorry darling. A lot has happened."
"A lot always happens with you, mum." I sighed as I rubbed my forehead.
"Sapphire now isn't the time for you to become annoyed at me...please just listen." There was a lot of concern and sadness in my mother’s voice and this is when I started to get worried. Mum was never unsure of herself, never stumbled and even when she talked to me she was always calm and collective but this wasn't like that.
"Mum...what's wrong? What is it? Is dad okay? Is everything okay at home?" I questioned only slightly panicked.
"Everything here is fine!" My mum said, laughing a bit down the phone; it was a sort of forced, fake laugh which was also very unusual.
"Mother what's wrong? I can tell something is because you’re just not...well you don't sound like you." A quiet sob came from the other side of the phone. I started to panic, my face shocked and scared. “Mum…are you - are you crying?” all I heard was sobbing. Long, shrill sobs like a baby crying in pain. I sighed and stopped tears from falling from my eyes. I hated anyone crying but this was my mother the person that raised me and 3 other children on her own and still worked. She never cried and it twisted my insides to hear her in pain. “Mum…..” more crying, pulling at my gut. “MOTHER YOU LISTEN TO ME RIGHT NOW!” I yelled down the phone, my hands shaking and most of my body too. I sighed, trying to calm myself down at the same time I was trying to stop myself sobbing as well. I heard a sniffle at the other end of the phone and then nothing .
“Right mum tell me everything. I want to know what the hell made you like this. Take it slowly and include every detail and please… no crying.” I remembered at that point pulling a chair out from the kitchen table and sitting down. To be honest I needed to sit down as my legs were giving way as well as shaking. I listened carefully to everything my mother was saying. I didn’t move and I hardly breathed. I was hung on every word. My mother explained everything to me; the situation, how it happened and why. To this day I cry every time I remember what she said to me. Everything about it is just gradually tearing me apart even now.
“Your grandmother has dementia”
“Gran is ill?”
“She may not remember things” Just things like that pop up in my memory from the long conversation we had and each time my heart feels like someone has dropped it from a great height or ripped it out and stomped on it and no one but me knows how it felt to be at the other end of the phone hearing what I was.
“So... what happens now?” I remember asking mum , taking a deep sigh after doing so.
“Dementia isn’t curable Sapph as you probably know… so we’re going to have to be there for her and hope.” I couldn’t believe what she was saying. I’ve seen dementia and its effects. How it slowly eats away at a person’s mind, makes them forget things and how they’ll never be the same again. But it’s not just that. I couldn’t help thinking then, wondering and worrying about how it was going to affect me. I am never good with emotions at the best of times but this - well it was just about going to tip me over the edge. I said goodbye and put the phone down before anything else could be said. I felt like breaking down into tears. Just let life slip away and let the darkness consume me and swallow me till nothing of me was left. But I had to help my mum through this because I knew things were going to get worse. And they did. A few weeks after the phone call my mother visited me. I wasn’t coping as well as she had probably expected me to. I was falling behind in my studies and I wasn’t answering my phone as I was refusing any contact with the outside world. I let my mum in, patting my hair to smooth it as I hadn’t bothered to get ready until now.
“Sapphire I know this is a hard time but look at you, people are becoming concerned.”
“Yeah? What’s it to you? I keep myself to myself now. No one understands this and no one has to. It’s just how I’m dealing with this okay?” I said as I slammed the kitchen door behind me watching as my mother walked in.
“It’s not the right way to go about it. We’re all hurting about Grandma. The fact she doesn’t really remember any of us only that she knows us in some way.”
“Don’t you think I know this mum? I’m doing a degree in psychology but please don’t continue to remind me - it hurts mum. A lot.” I opened the fridge and poured myself a glass of orange juice.
“I know but we’ll have to find a way to cope.” I breathed in and sighed.
“Do you forget that Gran practically raised me? When you were working she was there, holding me and bouncing me on her knee or making an effort to help me with me homework . She was there when you weren’t. And you're saying cope?”
“Well that’s what we're going to have to do. Cope and grin and bear it.”
“Grin and bear it?” I jumped around and forced a laugh. “Grin and bear it?! How the hell can you say that! Gran is slowly dying and forgetting who we are, who I am and it’s killing me mum! It’s eating at my insides and my heart feels like it’s-it’s failing like someone has stabbed me. So don’t you dare tell me it is okay? Don’t you try because it’s not. Don’t say I can cope because I can’t.” Tears poured down my face as my mother stared at me her mouth open in surprise and her eyes full of concern. “What is happening isn’t fair. It shouldn’t happen. Not to us, not to me. All my life I’ve done nothing but good and then this happens. IT’S NOT BLOODY FAIR!” I threw my glass with juice still in it at the far wall, my mum having to move out the way to avoid it hitting her. I fell into a ball on the floor sobbing and rocking back and forth. Some may say that my reactions are bad. That at least my gran isn’t dead but isn’t that at all. I’d be a lot worse in that case. No it’s the fact that though she’s still alive, the Gran I know and love won’t be there. She will be someone different who wouldn’t recognise me and she would have changed and that just killed me even the thought of it. When I started crying I remembered my mum bending down and hugging me, telling me soothing things like she did when I wouldn’t stop crying as a child even though I’m now 20. I was crying so much that I couldn’t breathe. Slowly, I got up and rubbed my eyes.
“Sapph, I’m going to see Gran tomorrow. The nurses are keeping her at her own house for now but under constant care. She keeps forgetting how to boil the kettle and cook toast bless her heart. You need to see her as much as it may hurt. You need to talk to her otherwise-“Her voice cracked slightly. “Otherwise you may lose her forever.” I cocked my head slightly at my mum. She was right. I may destroy myself if I let my Gran slip away from me even more than she already had. Maybe seeing her would help. The next morning my mum arrived to pick me up. There was dark circles under my  eyes, Darkened from my lack of sleep last night. I’d made as much effort as i could with clothes to hide my loss of weight and the makeup covering the circles but  as soon as my mother saw me she sighed. “you really don’t get much sleep do you? oh and look at your belly! you should eat you know darling.” I offered her a smile,but no explanation to my appearance before getting into the car. It was a long and painful drive to my Grans. Every minute dragged by slowly and  despite it  only being a 15 minute drive it felt a lot more. My mum opened the door of the car for me and walked me to the gate. As i stepped into the garden i noticed my mother wasn’t following me. “Mum are you not coming.” My mother smiled . it was a small sweet smile the kind she reserved to make someone happy. “no dear. you need to go in there on your own. see her for yourself. If we both crowd her... well anyway It’s better you spend some time with her. Ring me when you want to be taken home.” And with that my mother drove of into town . I turned round and stared at my grandma’s door . It’s colour was fading now , the deep purple paint curling and crisping with age. I remembered helping dad paint it but since he died a few years before this no one has touched it since . Not even the flowers curling round the frames that bordered it. I slowly pushed open the door , making it creak as i stepped inside. I found my nan sat in her favorite chair by the fire. There was a book and drink on the table beside her and the tv showed a replay of last nights eastenders. A nurse smiled at me as they re-filled my Grandma’s cup before running upstairs to perform some form of  task. I bent down in front of my Gran so she notices me . “ Hello dear.” She said smiling at me . “ How is school?”  “It’s uni-”  I was about to correct my Nan when i realised … she’s getting confused.  i sighed. “school is fine.” i said and laughed a little. “ I’m reading my new danielle steel  book dear it’s very good.” I smile at her. My Grandma picks up her drink slowly but her hands were shaking. The drink splashes at the sides as she puts it to her lips and as some spills i lunged forward and grab the drink from her.  My Gran looked at me blankly. “Oh hello are you one of the new nurses? don’t you have beautiful hair oh and your eyes! Like sapphires! you know my granddaughter was called sapphire because she had eyes just like yours.” . My gran starts laughing her old familiar laugh, her aging eyes staring into mine as i laughed back. Tears formed in my eyes, prickling and stinging. When my Gran stopped laughing she stared at me again. Her eyes weren’t soft anymore … but they seemed angry. “who are you? what are you doing in my house?”
“I...I” I stumbled not able to get any words from my throat. My whole mouth felt numb and dry. “Get out! Get out now! GET OUT!”  My Grandma yelled at me , thrashing out and narrowly missing my face. A nurse comes running downstairs looking panicked. i laid there on the floor stunned , my mouth open as my vision was blurred by tears. This  was my Gran someone who was so close to me and she barely remembered me for 10 minutes and now she thinks i’m some intruder in her house. The nurse picked me up and ushered me towards the door , muttering sorry and that it best that i go. I was shoved out the door as it was slammed behind me. I slowly slid and fell down onto the step , tears crashing onto the concrete as i curled up and let the world around me and all it’s imperfections , sadness and memories swallow me whole.
That was the most disturbing time in my life and it hasn’t really got any better since then. Gran is slowly slipping away even further and mum is  locking all her feelings away and no one can help her. Me? I just sit on the hill in the woods far behind the houses and think of life gone by and hope that someday peace will find it’s way back to me.

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