Birthdays were always big in my household. Mine were always special and in turn I enjoyed making them special for my parents and yes even for my dogs! Getting gifts and cards are great but being a party/event planner, I love the planning and the fanfare surrounding the day. Whether it’s something small or not so small, I love choosing what cake to get or bake, what gift(s) were I going to get, how was I going to wrap them and decorate. I’m even this way with friends, I feel special occasions and holidays should be and feel special!
When Alzheimer’s entered my mom, Susan’s life, I admit one of the biggest adjustments I had to make were my feelings on birthdays and holidays. Ask anyone who knows me I am MS. HALLMARK!!, but it was now difficult to find one that expressed how I was feeling. Do I get a card based on the past, that no matter how sentimental it would be, it’s just another piece of paper with words on it or do I find something simple that says, “Happy Birthday” because “my” feelings won’t get hurt? When my dad passed it was hard then too but death is final. I don’t have to buy a card if I don’t choose to. A mom with Alzheimer’s is a present person with a mind that’s in another place.
So I’ve learned and am still learning, to do what I can. I get gifts and cake and last night I made Happy Birthday signs so when she’s looks at them maybe something would trigger. It was late, but I admit I enjoyed being crafty and coloring. What hurts is how much I want my mom to remember what used to be, places we’d go and fun things we did, but no matter how much medication or testing, there is nothing can be done to make it “how it used to be.” And that’s the most painful thing to me.
Mom did remember that Oct. 27th, is her birthday, I tried to do my part to make it special knowing the day won’t be any different, but I do know later she will love eating cake! You don’t need a special occasion for that!
Mom & I in Portsmouth, NH a few weeks ago…..OK, OK, it may have been (ahem) a few years ago