A New Years Regret

A Cancelled Birthday Party

By Lori La Bey of Senior Lifestyle Trends

Today I had to make a really difficult decision.  It may not seem like much to most, but I agonized over cancelling my Mother’s 82nd Birthday Party.  Mom is a New Years Baby.  My heart aches unsure Mom if will make it until her 83th Birthday. The odds are against it as Alzheimer’s continues to steal her away bit by bit.  

You see I have this horrible cold and I know I should not be around Mom or at the nursing home when ill.  I also know the last thing I should do is cook and get others sick as well.  I know I could have asked others to bring food and drink or order it at the last minute; but bottom line I want to be at Mom’s party.  Selfish I know.

I asked myself many times, “Why do I feel the party can’t go on without me?”

 Is it my ego getting in the way? 

My answer kept coming back “No.”  It’s not about my ego.  It’s about enjoying our time with Mom.  It’s about appreciating Mom, all she has been, all she is, and all she has to offer even in her end stages of the disease. This party is about family getting together to celebrate my Mother’s Birthday like we did last year on New Year’s Day.  This party is about unity, simplicity, and love. 

I am hoping family will still stop by and visit Mom tomorrow on her birthday, New Years Day, but I also know how uncomfortable everyone is doing that on their own.  I understand their discomfort.  I understand their lack in confidence on what to say and do when a person doesn’t appear to respond.  I appreciate the fear they feel.  I understand their sorrow as they look at Mom and they feel they don’t know her anymore.  I appreciate the sense of loss they hold and the anger that burdens them. 

You see, I too have felt all those things over the years, but I’ve been given a gift to look deeper, to feel deeper.  I have been given the gift to let these emotions process and let them go, so I can move forward and engage my Mother.   I know longer judge others and get angry because they don’t visit Mom.   I just pray someday soon they will be able to see and feel what I do when I visit her.  I pray they will be able to connect with Mom like I do and will see the brief glint in her eye, or smirk on her face.

These things give me reason to be sad, scared, and excited at the same time, as most of my family has not seen my Mother since her last Birthday.  Even with me there to guide things along, it was tough on them.  Now, this year, Mom has slipped even more.  If they do visit, I know they will be shocked.  I’ve tried to prepare them for these changes, but it’s just not something they want to hear.  My thought is that if they visit individually that will be easier on Mom.  The party atmosphere would be difficult for her at best, without someone who can interpret her needs.  I’m that person for Mom.  I get her.  I see things in Mom most do not.    

I do plan on rescheduling Mom’s Birthday Party, but want to make sure my Brothers are able to be there. My younger Brother travels a lot for work, so the scheduling gets complicated, but we will figure it out. 

I am trying to tell myself everything happens for a reason.  Maybe cancelling the party will allow my family to see the changes in Mom and process them alone.  Maybe this will give them private time with Mom to say whatever they need to say to her.  Maybe this in the end will be a gift to all, and we will celebrate together later.  Maybe this year Mom gets a “tofor” – a two for one opportunity to see family.

I just pray I made the right decision, the one in Mom’s best interest.  I pray my ego did not get in the way.

14 Replies to “A New Years Regret”

  1. Thinking of you Lori – on this your Mother’s birthday – my heart goes out to you. Hope you are feeling better!! Yes, it would have been a hard decision especially under the circumstances – it seems to me choosing not to spread sick germs was a good decision. I’m a true believer in celebrating birthdays for as long as possible and having as many parties as possible so look forward to the rescheduled party. I hope your family does take the opportunity to still stop in and see your mom – it would be a blessing for your mom as well as for them. We can all learn from a situation even when it’s difficult to see a loved one with Alz – the situation can be a great teacher and give them an opportunity to grow. Wishing both you and your mother a happy birthday!

    1. HI Beth
      Thanks for your kind words. It looks like one borther may have gone to see her, but ai haven’t heard back and asked him to call me so not sure. The other brother is going to stop by tomorrow. My neices are ill, like me so they didn’t go either. Everything happens for reason even if I can’t make sense of it. I’m still pretty sick today and even went to urgent care as I had to bring my daughterin for her tailbone injury. Life goes on… Hope you had a great New Years Day!

    1. Thank you. I’m hoping this cold will pass soon, being in bed is getting old. It will prbably be a couple of weeks before we can get the whole family together to celebrate Mom’s birthday. I was so excited by two Brothers, did go on their own and visit her. It was hard on them but they did it and Mom responded to both.

  2. Lori, your reasoning reminds me of my own. So many familiar arguments and debates about what is right, fair, and in mom’s best interest.

    I’m sure you already know that caregivers need to take care of themselves. It’s an ongoing issue. I wish you all the best with rescheduling. You seem to be the kind of woman who can figure out how to turn an obstacle into a success.

    BTW, these blogs are a wonderful legacy. I hope you are keeping a hard copy, just in case.

    Take care,

    Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers

    1. HI Lynn
      Thanks for your comments. Your right caregiver balance is critical and sometimes dificult to balance. I have learned to be much better about taking care of myself over the years, but it took me a long time to figure out I’m not wonder woman! LOL What I have now is a head cold, typical for me when the weather takes a huge turn and the barometer drops.

      As for your comment on keeping hard copies, I’m actually in the process of writing a book called Alzheimer’s Speaks – As the Cookie Crumbles- Helping Caregivers be their very best.

      In addition, I would love to add you as a resource to my Alzheimer’s Speaks resource site for your caregiving jouranal. Can you send me a link to your site specific to the location of the book. Also if you have other useful tools for caregivers or patients I would love to know. If you want to I can add a pdf or video to your lsiting as well. Please send to my directly at Lori@AlzheimersSpeaks.com You’ll be asked to put in a code to get through my spam screener. Thanks!

  3. Hi Lori,
    Birthdays are tough when a parent is losing memory and unlearning so much about the things we celebrate in life. Today I am working on a short blog piece, as yet unposted, about the hair dresser that we have scheduled to visit our mother tomorrow morning. With mother’s disease so far along I have no idea how it will work, but we thought we’d give it a try.

    Thank you for your comments about my by blog. I’ll also add AlzheimersSpeaks to my blog list, something I should have done ages ago.

    Marti Weston

    1. HI Marti,
      Thank you for your comments. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you with the hair dresser. The woman who use to do Mom’s hair for years at the nursing home retired and it’s not working so well with a new person. Plus Mom’s hair is so fine and thin there isn’t much to work with anymore. She use to get perms but we are afraid it might just kill off the rest of her hair.

      Good Luck!

  4. Even though neither of my parents had Alzheimer’s disease, as a caregiver for parents that both died from cancer, I have great empathy. I have shared links to a number of your posts and people are always happy to see tips, advice and especially to realize they are not alone in their journeys.

    1. HI Kathleen
      Thank you for your kind words and sharing my thoughts with others. The goal of this blog is to generate thought and build a community for people dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and Caregiver to share, learn and grow. I appreciate you taking your time to write. I also see you are now following AlzSpks on Twitter. Thanks You! I’m fairly new to the whole Titter thing. I checked out your site as well. You have some great articles and a very interesting site.
      Take Care

  5. Your website looks really good. Being a blog writer myself, I really appreciate the time you took in writing this article.

  6. Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I’m more of a visual learner

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