“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”
Alzheimer’s disease began weaving its ugly fingers through Pop’s mind when we were about seventy. There had been history of it in his family, so we were not terribly surprised. He still had his gentle, loving manner about him, but his memory began to grow fuzzy, and that was when we moved to Granite Farms Estates.
Granite Farms is the continuing-care retirement community where I live now. My, it is a very well-kept place. The buildings are furnished beautifully; everything is tidy and I’m particularly fond of the red and gold patterned carpet that runs throughout the dining area. But the scenery outside is even more breathtaking, that was the first thing Pop and I noticed when we arrived. There are fountains, and stone pathways that travel throughout the community. And the grass! The grass is spring green and fluffy, and Pop said, “Why, Ellie, I think we’ve found ourselves in Colorado.”
He smiled at me. We always wanted to see the grasslands along the Colorado mountainsides.
Morning walks around the community became a ritual of ours. Pop and I liked to get an early start on our days, so we would wake up and have breakfast together and then go out for our walk while there were still dew drops on the grass. Pop truly enjoyed our surroundings, he would remark that the grass at Granite Farms was like a blanket for the animals. We saw deer, squirrels, and sometimes groundhogs. He always brought his binoculars and his bird book with us, and we would find a bench along our path so we could sit and watch the birds as well. He would point them out to me as they soared past us.
Alzheimer’s is no sympathetic guest, and Pop’s mind soon began losing the battle. He started getting lost in our building, repeating the same questions to me, and misplacing things in odd places. He was confused a lot, his poor soul. When family came to visit he wouldn’t greet them by name, because I think he was struggling to figure out who they were. Then it became increasingly difficult for him to carry out his daily activities. At breakfast in the morning, pouring his Cheerios into a bowl with milk was challenging for him, and I would offer to help but he didn’t want me to. He didn’t want to give in to his disease. He ate the cereal from the box, dry, with a spoon.
The more serious and physical symptoms began to take effect, and Pop was moved to medical unit at Granite Farms. We couldn’t go on our walks anymore, so I opened the shade on the window in his room and I sat with him, and he looked out at the grass.
Psalm 23 reads, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. When the priest recited that, I thought of Pop lying on the green that surrounds the mountains in Colorado. I thought of him lying there, like he was lying on a blanket.
I believe Pop is at peace, in a place he always wanted to be. And I believe he’s smiling at me. He’s alright now because he is with the Lord. I’ll meet him there someday.