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.