Grandma's Challenge

by Melanie
(Massachusetts, USA)

When I was 10 years old, my grandmother was 63.

I used to visit her house almost every weekend, and we’d make cookies, watch old movies, and drive to the park or the cinemas or the ice cream place in town.

I loved spending time with her, and she loved doting on me the way grandmothers do.

But the summer I was turning 11, she developed Macular Degeneration. Or maybe she always had it, and it simply progressed?

My memory is not too clear, and I never understood the disease at the time.

My parents told me that grandma was blind, but I knew she wasn’t blind, since she didn’t have a dog to walk her around, and she never bumped in to things in her house.

She stopped driving, though, so we stopped going to the park and the movies and eating ice cream. She didn’t read to me anymore, either.

Because I didn’t understand what was happening, I resented her for it, sadly.

I didn’t understand why she stopped doing fun things with me, and I thought she was mad.

Now that I’m grown, I understand better what she was going through with AMD, and I regret that I made her feel worse when she must have already been sad and scared with the decrease in vision.

I’ve made a point of learning about Macular Degeneration, to honor her memory, prepare myself for what I may one day face, and to someday pass the information on to my children, so they never have to feel guilty as I do for blaming a loved one for their disease.

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