She was kind and loving and 100% without irony or sarcasm. When she and my Grandpa Henry moved to Florida, a six-year-old me asked them WHY? WHY would you do such a thing? After my grandpa answered that he didn't want to shovel snow anymore, I famously told them that I'd take care of that from now on.
My grandma taught me to be generous and loyal and forgiving, and also how to apply lipstick discreetly after dinner at a restaurant.
I haven't read anything about the impact of Alzheimer's on close family, but I'm sure they address the difference in an Alzheimer's patient's passing -- how you really lost that loved one 10 years ago, but it doesn't make watching someone die any easier. Just a little more complicated.
There's not much more to do in a hospital room for a week besides tell stories and play Scrabble. I learned some interesting tales about my grandma's family back in Russia; my favorite being their Loss of Fortune. Apparently my grandma's great-great grandma was wealthy and proud -- too proud. As family legend has it, she took to riding white horses through town, which is something a merchant family like ours simply shouldn't do. The Tsarina at the time took great offense, and our family was handed a punishment of feeding an army regimen for an entire year. It was, thus, pride that lost our family its rightful fortune. A cautionary tale.
I remember yearly school vacations in Florida, bad perms, trips to the mall and endless patience while my brother and I swam in the pool. Honestly I can't think of anyone in my life who is kinder or more honest or as simply truly good.
Rest in peace, Grandma Estelle.