Hanging with Peepaw at Thanksgiving

Even though Grammaw was in the nursing home, Thanksgiving with Peepaw wasn’t a lonely affair. My parents and brother Philip came down from Virginia and relatives Uncle Charles and Aunt Beverly joined us for Thanksgiving dinner as well. In fact, they prepared most of the delicious food!

With my family in town Trey and I slept down the road at my great-uncle Tommy’s house. They were out of town and graciously let us use their place. Trey and I had a great time playing shuffleboard in their basement and visiting his horses in the fields out back.

Over the last year Peepaw’s mental health has deteriorated significantly. He gets very confused about his whereabouts and who people are. That sometimes leads to him getting very frustrated. He scared Trey a little on our visit when he mistook him for an unwelcome stranger in his house and gruffly told him to “Get out of here.” Trey was just as confused but seems to accept our explanation that Peepaw is just old and gets “mixed up” sometimes. Trey mostly shrugs and says “He’s just being silly.”

At one point Trey was showing Peepaw a Lego toy when Peepaw took it and put it in his mouth having assumed it was candy. Trey just thought that was hilarious and ran excitedly to tell me about how silly Peepaw was acting.

I do find it a huge reflection on my grandfather’s true character that as the dementia sets in, he has never become violent or verbally abusive. He sometimes get agitated but hasn’t sworn at anyone or yelled. In fact, several times he has apologized profusely after getting frustrated or being curt with someone.

You’ll notice in the video that Peepaw mentions bringing Trey home with him even though he’s already at home. That’s the biggest issue with his dementia – he usually doesn’t recognize that he is in his own house and gets upset that no one will take him home.