There is no generational divide when it comes to love. For 25 years, I was graced with the love and affection of my dear Bubby. A strong Czech woman, my grandmother was the matriarch of our family. As a single mother, she worked full-time, sang in her church choir and made time to volunteer in her community.
For my sister and me, Bubby was our caregiver, confidant and cheerleader. Her kindness knew no bounds. She befriended strangers she met on the bus, sewed for her church fundraisers and comforted many with her meals. Through my young eyes, Bubby showed me how a single act of kindness could bring hope, even if just to one person.
My grandmother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis started a serious family conversation about her future living arrangements. The consensus among my mother, sister and I, was that Bubby had supported and cared for us, and now we would reciprocate that same love and care.
Instead of her pushing me in my stroller, I pushed her in the wheelchair. Instead of a bib, I draped a small hand towel over her blouse. While her independence waned, her love did not. We laughed and we cried together. I cared about her well-being as much as she still pined for mine.
My college experience spanned more than classes, study sessions and parties. The seven years I spent as a co-caregiver with my mother and sister were the most poignant years of my young adult life. Alzheimer’s disease took my grandmother’s mobility and independence, but it did not rob us of the deep bond we forged when I was young.
With my grandmother’s love and support, my aunt became a nurse, my uncle became a police officer and my mother became a physical therapist. Today, my sister is pursuing her nursing degree, and I have recently joined the passionate family at the Council on Aging, whose mission of promoting the health and well-being of seniors is deeply ingrained in my heart.
Bubby was the foundation of three generations of family members driven to serve and care for people in their communities.
This past year, I married Ryan, the love of my life. Bubby was not in her seat, but she attended my wedding. My Bubby will never meet her great-grandchildren, but she will hold them every day. My Bubby will continue to share kindness in the world because she lives in me.
by Meagan Rugani
COA Donor Relations Officer
Photo: Meagan’s ‘Bubby’ Lillian Spolar; Meagan’s sister, Courtney McIntosh, and Meagan.