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She was an extraordinary woman. Mother of my father. Mother of 7. Talented, beautiful, spirited. Her husband called her "Gladys".
Born in Hartford, CT, her parents came from Poland. Occasionally, she would throw out phrases in Polish, but she did not have an accent whatsoever.
A very early photograph of she and my grandfather together have them dressed as Bonnie and Clyde - she in her flapper dress, he with a wide-brimmed hat. Both loving life.
This is a picture of the grandmother I remember, the grandmother I grew up around, the grandmother who made huge perfect turkeys at Thanksgiving and scolded her adult children for saying off-color things.
This is my grandmother from before..
My grandmother was consumed by Alzheimer's.
The infrequent times I saw her after this photograph was taken left me at a complete loss. In just a few years she became incapable of knowing who anyone was. She walked non-stop in the nursing home. She sang to herself in Polish. Her face bloated, her shoulders bent. She did not smile.
If there was anything inside trying to communicate through the confusion, it must have been terrified. I can think of no worse way to fade from life.
Lladislava Petronella Davidovitch-Whittemore