During Rosh Hashanah services, I couldn't help but think of dh's grandmother. With thoughts of the inscriptions in the Book of Life and images of G-d deciding who will thrive and who will pass on, she was often on my mind. Bubbe is now in a nursing home and is still deteriorating. She has some good days and some awful ones. There have been some frightening times, but she keeps pulling through.
She was recently moved to a new nursing home. My mother-in-law explained that there's an open shower there where the staff can just wheel the patients up which is far more convenient for wheel chair-bound bubbe.
Bubbe's short-term memory seems to be completely gone, but she clings to her past.
My MIL told me something that shook me unlike anything else I've heard in many moons.
For days, Bubbe fought the staff when they tried to give her a shower. She thought they were trying to gas her. She couldn't understand that she was NOT in the camps and that was NOT Nazi Germany.
The only thing worse than that is the fact that since she has no short-term memory, she must have had that same thought every day. She can't remember that she escaped Germany long ago. She can't remember that just the day before, someone had proven to her that she would not be killed like some of her family had been. She has no way to comfort herself. Her brain forced her to relive that each day.
From what I've heard, it doesn't seem as though she's still reacting in that way. But still, just the fact that she had to endure those fears over and over again even now in a time and place where she's safe just breaks my heart and tears at my soul.