Christmas is About Love

I’m hours away from getting on a plane to visit my mother. She lives 10 hours from me in the next province over. She has dementia and it’s been worsening of late. For a couple of years now, she’s been slipping, repeating herself, forgetting important things like her health history or that she wears glasses and hearing aids. She’s still an avid talker, but her conversations now revolve around her big tv and the man friend that drops in to watch football. Sometimes when I’m with her and I’m bored and a little mischievous and too tired to redirect her, I’ll bring up the big TV myself. One of her oft repeated phrases is, “At least I still have my mind”, something that makes us smile every time she says it.

Last November, we all got together and discovered she no longer recognized most of her family. She still knew myself and my sister and brother and my sister’s family, as they’ve been her caregivers for some time, but my spouse, my brother’s wife, and the rest of her grandchildren are lost to her.

She was talking to my husband, having a good conversation, and she said, “Now, who are you?” My husband introduced himself.

She looked surprised. “My daughter married a Krause.”

I said, “Mom, that’s Myron.”

She smiled and laughed. “Ohhhhh,” she exclaimed. “I feel bad. I should know that.” And seconds later, those bad feelings disappeared into the fog, Myron was a stranger again, and she was asking who all the people were and what she was doing there.

In September, we got a call from the assisted living facility she lived in. They said she was getting worse and would need to move out. She was starting to wander the halls and knock on doors. They would give us a couple of months to find a place for her, but we’d need to hire someone to be with her for the afternoon and evening. My sister’s family took turns watching her.

Once, my sister was sitting with her and they called me. She talked to me like she knew me, said my name in the familiar way she always does, kind of a sing songy, happy way.

At one point in the conversation, she turned to my sister and said, “And, how are you related?”

I was floored. “Look at that. It’s happened,” I said under my breath.

“I’m your daughter,” my sister replied.

“I bore you?” my mother asked, astonished.

“Yes.”

“What’s your name,” she innocently asked my sister.

My sister answered with her full maiden name, probably figuring her married name would be too confusing.

“Polly, do you know her?” she asked, still trying to piece it together.

“She’s my sister. Your oldest daughter.”

“Ohhhhhh,” she said. “Then, who is your father?” She asked both Pam and I this question. We both repeated our dad’s full name.

“Ohhhhhh,” she said again. “Well, I’m getting old. I can’t always remember things anymore, but the important thing is that you know that I love you.”

We went through this a couple more times always with some variation of that ending. “All that matters is that we love each other.”

That’s Christmas. “For God so loved the world” (Jn 3:16). Christmas is about love. Remember that as you gather around the tree or the table with your dear ones in a couple of days. Treat them accordingly, even the annoying ones, because Christmas is about love and, in the end, love is all that matters. 🙂

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All pictures in this post were combined and edited using photos from Pixabay. Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to follow me or sign up to receive my posts via email. Listen to my posts on Spotify. Follow me on Instagram. Take a peek at my Redbubble store: Pollyeloquent.redbubble.com. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

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4 thoughts on “Christmas is About Love

  1. Pam and Polly: I am so sorry to hear this . Many of us have gone through this. So difficult.
    Sandra Child

  2. Oh Polly, that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming to read. Dementia is cruel – for those suffering, who get confused and stressed and anxious and for those watching their loved ones slip away. But the heartwarming thing is that your dear mother still feels love and is capable of love, no matter what. Wishing you and your family and extended family, much love and strength in navigating this difficult time. May you find laughs amongst the tears. Wishing you all the very best for Christmas. Virtual hugs my friend, Kathy @kathywallace.photography

    1. Thanks so much, Kathy. Yes, it’s an especially difficult time for her as she is aware that her memory is going and this is causing some distress on top of the fact that we’ve had to move her to a place with people who’re much further along than she is. We’ll have to weather it. I had a good visit with her, such as it was. Blessings on your new year, my friend!

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