Party time

The Alz center held its annual Christmas party on the afternoon of Dec. 17, conveniently just after my office’s holiday potluck. I arrived a little bit late, but it’s a free-for-all so it didn’t matter. I found Mom wandering around in the lobby. She gave me a big hug when she saw me. A few family members from support group whose loved one passed away in February were attending the party, and had been talking to Mom. One of them told me Mom was hungry. So I suggested we walk toward the music in the program area and possibly stop for treats along the way. Mom held my hand and we walked along the corridor. I asked her if she wanted food as we passed tables of treats, but she didn’t seem too interested. I found chairs for us in the program area and we sat to watch my favorite Elvis impersonator sing. Mom was full of joy, saying how happy she was. I was happy to have her to myself. I used my phone to snap a photo of her, and just as I was finishing, Mr. R appeared from behind me. I pulled up another chair and he sat between Mom and me. I admit, I found this to be a bummer.

Before Mr. R came along, Mom and I were enjoying ourselves. This lasted about 10 minutes.

My neighbor, who is a hospice social worker, spends a lot of her professional time at the center. She came to sit beside me for awhile and chat, which was a nice distraction for me since Mom and Mr. R were holding hands and otherwise ignoring me. And out of the corner of my eye, while I was talking to my neighbor, I saw Patrick appear in the hallway. He had his own office party and then a Secret Santa gathering, so he had said he didn’t know if he would make it. I was very pleased that he showed up.

I convinced Mom to stand up for this picture with Patrick. I think he may have bought her this winter-themed sweater.

As always, I enjoyed listening to and watching Elvis. He does such a nice job, and he is very patient with and kind to residents who come up to him while he’s singing to touch the beads on his outfit or otherwise admire him. Mr. R sings along with every Elvis song.

This gives some idea of what Elvis goes through. The resident in green was approaching him, so enjoying his performance, and this activities staff member caught up with her and got her to dance.

I got Mom and Mr. R some punch and Patrick and I each ate a nibble of a snack. I didn’t eat much, having just finished a huge meal at my office party. And since Mom wasn’t asking for food, I decided to avoid the potential mess of giving her snacks. (Last year, she threw a meatball into her punch at this same party.) I got up to briefly talk to Mom’s roommate’s daughter. She said her mother, who had appeared to be close to death, had had a bad morning. The daughter had a bad morning, too, and had done a lot of crying. She was sad about the likelihood that this was her last Christmas party with her mother. Meanwhile, her mom had pepped up, drank a glass of punch and was tapping her fingers and wiggling her toes along with the music. I returned to Mom and got to do a little dancing myself.

I had a lot of fun dancing with Mom.

This shirt I'm wearing actually is one of Mom's. I kept it because her clothing needs are minimal now, and she has a lot of other nice shirts. I don't know if I'll wear it often, but I liked wearing it for this party.

When the party ended, it was pretty easy to leave. It is typical now for me to announce I’m leaving, and have Mom stand up and think she might want to come along with me wherever I am going. I invite Mr. R to come along. They stand, consult in their special way, and walk off somewhere. It’s a little weird, but it’s nice for all of us that parting from each other is not painful.

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6 comments so far

  1. Jennifer Jayhawk on

    I love the pictures!

    That is funny about the staff having to fend off the the crush of Elvis fans.

    Happy Holidays!!!

  2. patwhite67 on

    Emily, Thank you for sharing the special time with your mom. I enjoyed the photos. I’m glad to know you wore the shirt of your mom’s. For me wearing a piece of jewelry or even carrying a purse that my mom has used feels comforting to me. I hope you will feel free to enjoy the holidays. I send my best to you. Pat

  3. rory lambert on

    HI, I’ve been following your blog because we work with an association in Spain that wants on Alzheimer’s research. We’ve developed this social app for Facebook to help build awareness. If you like it, please share, because the more people we are who fight against the disease, maybe the sooner we can over come it.

    http://apps.facebook.com/fundacio_clic_eng/index.php?ref=mf

  4. Sara Strong on

    Hi Emily,

    This was a wonderful entry, thanks for sharing and for the photos. You really gave a lively picture of the event and the place. Lovely writing. It would be funny if it weren’t sad….or is it a bit funny even though there is sadness beneath. You’re a great daughter.

  5. Gemma on

    Emily, I’m glad you enjoyed most of your time with Bonnie, even though some moments were hard. The photos are great, especially the one with Patrick and the one of you dancing with your mom. Happy New Year to all of you!

  6. momsbrain on

    Jennifer: There are lots of Elvis fans in this bunch! I hope your holiday season has been peaceful. Happy New Year!

    Pat: I do enjoy wearing some items of Mom’s – I have lots of necklaces and a couple of shirts. And my nieces, sister and I all went through her clothes and jewelry when she left assisted living and we all have a few things of hers. Happy holidays to you!

    Rory: Thank you for your comment and for reading my blog.

    Sara: There are definitely many funny moments, and I love to laugh with Mom. The disease is a sad thing, but I try hard to see humor where I can and give Mom reasons to smile.

    Gemma: I did have a nice time overall. And I always have to remember that Mom’s happiness is the most important thing. Happy New Year to you, too!


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