Communicating with Grandma, 2020

As i start this newsletter, i reflect on the ways my paternal Grandma has communicated with me throughout my life. Over the past three years her ability to communicate has slowly disappeared. She has been diagnosed with PPA (Primary Progressive Aphasia) which is a type of dementia which affects communication (reading, writing and speaking) rather than long or short term memory. More recently her comprehension has also deteriorated, but thankfully she is still able to live by herself and manage day to day tasks.

She has always been an independent woman, from being the only woman studying on her Architecture course in the 1950s to moving to Ireland, building her house and planting thousands of trees after retirement. Writing letters, birthday cards and postcards was her way of communicating with family and friends in America after she moved to London in the 1960s. Later when she was living in Ireland and dad forced her to have a mobile phone, she’d text me updates of what the lil animals and birds were doing on her land, or a cute message to tell me she missed me. Im lucky to have a Grandma that i have always called my best friend. As both of our physical and mental health has been deteriorating over the past two years, its hard to support each other how we always have. But I am lucky to still have my words, able to express myself and share Grandmas story, for that I am grateful.