This picture of my Mom Jean speaks volumes to me. It was taken on Mother’s Day 2015. Seeing her beautiful smile warms my heart. After 16 years battling dementia a smile becomes a treasure. This weekend is Mother’s Day. I want to make it special for Mom. I’m reflecting on days passed. Mother’s Day- pre dementia, early, mid and late stages.
As a child we did not go out to eat often. Mom prided herself on being a good mom. Dinner was homemade everyday. We gathered together at 5pm everyday and shared quality time. No TV, there were no cell phones, just family enjoying each other over a meal. Happy times. On Mother’s Day we always went out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate. No cooking for mom!
After 5 years living with me misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder Mom was diagnosed with a dementia related disease. She was told she had less than three years to live in 2005. It’s 12 years later and mom is still here. Mom chose placement in a facility upon diagnosis. She did not want to “burden” her children. A most unselfish act of love.
In these early stages we were still able to celebrate Mother’s Day in a nice restaurant. As her dementia progressed to the mid stages, restaurants became too confusing for mom. She no longer wanted to go out. The large crowds, the noise, the change in environment took it’s toll. We could see mom was not happy. It was time to make a change. We started celebrating Mother’s Day at either my home or my sisters. The Family was still together, mom was comfortable in the environment. She was happy and so were we.
In 2011 my sister Gina hosted a lovely birthday party for my mother for her 69th birthday. She went all out on the cooking, decorating and the cake. Mom was not a happy camper. . It was just too much for her to leave the facility at this point. As her dementia continued to progress change in environment was too difficult.
Once again we had to make changes. We started celebrating at the facility. We had a wonderful dinner all together, we gave her flowers, candy and some pretty clothing or jewelry. Mom loves fashion. We were all together, mom was happy and so were we.
Currently in these late stages we had to make another adjustment. Between my sister and her family along with me and my family it’s just too crowded for mom to enjoy her special day. Now my family celebrates separately from my sister and her family. It doesn’t matter if it’s Saturday or Sunday. Gina will have her quality time with mom and her family. I will have my quality time on a different day. Mom will enjoy her favorite things, her children, grandchildren, snacks, music and lots of love. It doesn’t get any better than that.
We learned to live in mom’s world, as she is no longer able to live in ours.
I’m looking forward to spending Mother’s Day with mom. It may be different but that is ok. As long as we are together and spend quality time we will both be happy. Another gift for Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day!
For Mindful Dementia Stories Mother’s Day Live Streaming blab conversation watch here.