After my Grandma thanked me for having a hand in “one of the highlights” of her life, I knew it was going to be a great story to share on many different levels.
Back in January, the St. Clair College Capitol Theatre in Chatham announced that country music singer Corb Lund would be gracing their Chatham stage in April.
Immediately, my grandmother Gail messaged me, inquiring about the concert. She said the musician she wanted to see play LIVE the most was Willie Nelson… whom she saw in Windsor last summer.
Second on her list was Corb Lund.
I told her I could see what I could do, as I’ve developed an amazing partnership with Lesley Grand and the Capitol since starting SWOMP last year.
After I called my Grandma to let her know that we’d be going to the show AND we’d be meeting Corb beforehand – she could hardly believe it.
When the day finally arrived, I was just as excited for the drive to the show with my Grandma, as she was to meet one of her favourite musicians.
Not wanting to damper the excitement of the evening, but also wanting to take advantage of some quality one-on-one time with my Grandma, I asked her how my Grandpa was doing.
She proceeded to fill me in with the latest developments and progression of his bout with Alzheimer’s disease.
She said it is difficult and frustrating to deal with on a daily basis. Everyday tasks that my grandparents would share and simple tasks, like clearing off the kitchen table for dinner, closing kitchen cupboards and remembering a password for a credit card, are often forgotten.
My Grandpa is one of the most kind, thoughtful, wise and patient men I’ve ever known.
That holds true today as he deals with Alzheimer’s. On the surface and in short douses and visits, it appears that nothing is really wrong. People that may bump into him or see him at events in Kingsville, may not notice.
It’s my Grandma that sees it on a daily basis.
Her strength and patience is being tested, and it made me proud to listen to her on the way to Chatham, not cowering away or ignoring it, but rather taking steps necessary to help my Grandpa, and to help herself.
She told me the support group she attends is vital to her coping with the disease. She listens to stories from other people whose spouses suffer from Alzheimer’s. She says this helps her keep things in perspective and will help her notice signs and cues, that more help or a change is needed.
“So we’re really going to meet him,” she asked me as we were pulling up to the Capitol Theatre to see Corb Lund.
After a bit of a wait (which seemed like forever according to my Grandma) we were escorted backstage, where we were greeted by the country singer from Alberta.
My Grandma’s face was beaming the entire time, as they chatted for a while, posed for pictures, and talked about music. Corb asked everyone at the meet and greet for some requests and he said he was off to shower before the show.
We grabbed a drink before heading to our front row seats to catch the last part of the opening band’s set.
“I should have asked him if he needed any help,” my Grandma said.
“With what?” I replied.
“Well he said he was going to take a shower… I should have asked him if he needed any help,” she said, with a grin on her face that was only half joking.
I laughed out loud and thought to myself, it is great to see my Grandma keep her sense of humour and still be herself.
We sat and enjoyed the rest of the show.
Corb Lund played all his hits and all the songs that my Grandma requested as well. He took LIVE requests from the crowd during the performance and even performed a sneak-peak of a new hockey-themed song he said he had been working on.
When reflecting on the great time my Grandma and I had at the Corb Lund show, I’m really grateful we had the opportunity to share it together.
It seems cliche to say, but I think it easily holds true in the fast paced world of today… don’t take these moments with loved-one’s for granted.
Pick up the phone… ask an old friend or relative how they are doing, especially if they may be dealing with a disease like Alzheimer’s or some other battle in their home.
Be a sounding board.
You don’t have to have answers, you just need to listen and care.
For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, visit the Alzheimer Society of Ontario website right here.