Dad Would Have Been 82 Today

img005My father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s died of cancer back in September. This is our first birthday without him. It’s taken me some time to digest what I have been saying for many months — he’s in a better place now. He was uncomfortable and couldn’t eat in the final month of his life.

I still smile when I think of the number of times we would show up at an appointment and when asked by the nurse, my Dad would respond “I’m just the driver” and point to me.

My Dad was wonderful. Most of my friends were surprised to find what a kind, silly man he really was.While I miss him dearly — it was difficult to mourn our loss when he was still on this planet but no longer himself because of the Alzheimer’s. I have a lot of wonderful memories and will celebrate the day by reflecting on all the great things he taught me and all the wonderful moments we shared.

I included a picture of a moment a staff photographer captured as I was fixing one of his pins before a parade. Treasured. 

Birthday’s and Dementia

82PresentsMy mother recently celebrated her 82nd birthday.  My mom has had trouble remembering her age … however, I can sympathize. I told people I was 48 for almost a year before my husband corrected me and clarified that I was only 47 at the time.

I am starting to recognize that as we approach each holiday or birthday, I’m starting to wonder if this will be the “last time” we can celebrate this moment together. I am working to enjoy the moment and not let that doom and gloom notion drive me when planning. However, I do consider how to make the best of each visit and had fun with my mom’s 82nd birthday.

Since my mom is having trouble remembering her age — and in the hope of extending the birthday tidings beyond just the day of her birthday — my kids and I created 82 presents for my mom and numbered them.

On her birthday, we delivered a basket filled with 82 gifts. We had a few special presents she opened, and told her the rest of the boxes she could open at her leisure.

We visited Micheal’s, and purchased little wedding favor boxes and filled them with chocolates which is a gift she will never grow weary. I don’t expect my mom to remember our visit, or even where the presents came from, but for a little while, she can enjoy her birthday tidings. Celebrated. 

My humor is starting to wane and that worries me!

My daughter just turned ten. When I visited my parents a few days before, my mom gave me a sealed envelope she addressed to my daughter.

She just had me help put together a card and check for my nephew, so I was curious what she put in the envelope for my daughter. She initially suggested I buy her a gift.

When my daughter was opening presents, she gets to the envelope my mom had made. For years, my mom would write little poems, which is what I was expecting to fall out.

Instead, the envelope was filled with various pictures from my parent’s life in the past decade. One was a picture of my parents with my daughter, but the others included a picture of the lake at the retirement community when it was under construction and a picture of the empty deck at my parents town house.

My husband and kids laughed — it was an odd collection of pictures in a funny strange way. I felt the angst my mom must have felt in trying to put together the envelope for my daughter.

I feel like I’m getting a little to close to the flame and need to pull back so I can continue to help my parents without burning myself out. I need to find the humor — things promise to only get more difficult.

Whether its funny strange or funny ha-ha, I need to see the humor in our situation. Acknowledged.