Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy 81st!

Thursday was Mother Dear's 81st birthday.

I've given up bringing anything of sentimental value since the concept would be lost on her. I used to bring fresh flowers every week until I realized that she doesn't spend much time in her room and generally doesn't even know she has a room.

Same thing for birthday cards. She doesn't understand them, and once placed in her room, are never acknowledged again. They're barely acknowledged when initially presented to her.

When I arrived, all of the staff were smiling and quick to point out that it was Mom's birthday. They said she'd had a great day so far. Unfortunately, she didn't recognize me and couldn't follow my explanation that it was her birthday. When I told her she was 81, she furrowed her brow as her brain failed to process the information.

We had a pleasant surprise this year. While I was there, her brother came to visit. He tends to stay away because it bothers him to see her that way and it reminds him of what may become of him. Too bad since one reason we picked the facility we did was because it is five minutes from his house.

He's 78 and has all his wits about him so I think he takes after his mother (my grandmother) who was mentally aware up until she died. It was my grandfather that had dementia and it seems my mother has taken after him.

He brought a card and a newspaper clipping from when she was 9 and he was 7. They were recognized for perfect attendance at school that year. I suppose it helps when your mother is the teacher in a one-room schoolhouse!

It really is a shame that her brother didn't visit more when she could have recognized him. She didn't know him on Thursday, and I know she would have been thrilled to see him had she known. She would cry and wish for visits when she was still here at home with me. That was when she was in her mid-stages of dementia when she would have known him but immediately forgotten that he'd visited once he left.

For where she's at in life, location, and the disease, it was a pretty good day.


karen said...

Happy Birthday to mom. I am glad her brother came but it is sad that he did not come more early in her disease. I hope you had a good day.

Greg said...

It's been one of the most shocking eye-openers for me to learn how other senior citizens can treat those suffering a decline into dementia. It's just fear, I know, but I always expect better from "the adults". The amount of selfishness and "playground" behaviour I've witnessed these past few years I ought to be used to it by now

My Mum loves cards, and I keep finding cards from previous years in amongst those received at Christmas and her Birthday. I don't think Mum knows who the people are who've sent them, but she loves the attention.

Anyway, I'm glad to read that you had a good day, all things considered. Even though WE notice what's been lost, what could be better, as long as our Moms are happy in their oblivious "present" state that's all that matters.

I hope you're well and that things are happening for you in your life, now that your Mom is more settled.

Mom said...

Happy birthday to your mom.
She is so very blessed to have you.

Gavin said...

Thanks y'all! :)

citygirl said...

Happy belated Birthday to mom! Good to hear that she had a good day. So sad that isn't recognizing people but you are right to rationalize that "for where she's at in was a pretty good day". Funny how the definition of a good day changes over time.

Too bad about her brother not visiting often but nice that he came by on her bday. I'm sure there's a little bit of her somewhere that recognized or sensed him and you.