Monday, April 16, 2007

When the world rains rocks on your head

Michael's grandfather died from Alzheimer's. It was diagnosed not long after the divorce, and the husband's ex packed up and moved to her father's home state without telling us. (Which wasn't a problem, except that she had Michael and we didn't know where he was for a few months. Which was a huge problem, but that's another story.)

So, Michael got to spend about five years with his grandfather before he died. It was very upsetting for him. He really loved his grandfather and seeing him deteriorate like that has left scars on Michael. He has a particular distaste for his step-grandma because she put her husband in a nursing home and then moved to another state. She didn't come back until the funeral. Everything was left in Michael's mother's hands.

We got a call last night from Michael's mother. Her mother has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Michael doesn't know yet. He was at a friend's house when she called. Right now the plan is for the husband to let Michael know. I'm stunned and not quite sure how to react. I'll admit that, selfishly, my first thought is how this is going to effect Michael. Not just the emotional repercussions of seeing another grandparent go through this, but the implications for his future. Does that fact that both her parents had Alzheimer's mean that Michael's mom is going to get Alzheimers? Is Michael at increased risk for coming down with this?

I don't know, and as far as I understand it, nobody knows.

Right now, all I can do is try to figure out how to best help Michael cope when he finds out.

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