Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mum's 88th Birthday - May 28, 2009

Lloyd and I went to Winnipeg this weekend to celebrate Mum's 88th birthday with her, my sister Wendy and her husband Randy. It was important for us to be there at this birthday because Mum's Alzheimer's is progressing quite rapidly and it'll probably be the last birthday she has when she remembers who we are.

She was excited to see us, although she introduced Lloyd to her friends as 'my dad' and I was 'my sister'. Sometimes though she remembered that I was her daughter. She seems to have a hard time with relationships and what the terms sister, mother, father, etc. mean. We took it in stride and didn't give her a hard time about it, laughing a lot with her. She phoned Wendy each morning we were there and asked if "those people" were still there!

One benefit of Alzheimer's is that everything is always new. Every time I visited with her she would ask me if I had any children. I would always reply, "Yes, I have 7 and 17 grandchildren" and she would always laugh and say "Oh that's wonderful".

She seemed to enjoy all the attention of being the birthday girl, but she'd occasionally forget who's birthday it was. In the video I'm attaching, she wishes me a happy birthday! Wendy made the delicious hazelnut torte birthday cake for her.

She loved the quilt Wendy made for her, but she forgot that she had made the rose squares years ago and was going to make a quilt herself with them but never got around to it. It is now on her bed in her assisted living home. She was so excited about it that she made everyone who walked by her room come in and see it.

For some reason after she opened her gifts she decided she needed to give her sons-in-law a kiss - something I've never seen her do before. We all got a kick out of her antics. This is Randy she's kissing.

And Lloyd, who she hasn't been able to remember for a year or so...she just knew he was special to us.

It's nice that she can still be happy and have fun. We have to cherish these times with her.

She enjoyed reading her birthday cards, and read every word out loud before allowing herself to open the gifts...something she's always done.

But still, she had her moments of puzzlement

and confusion

But we'll remember best the fun time we had on her 88th birthday.
The following video clip is her Birthday Speech. When she looks to her right, she's looking at Wendy and Randy. Lloyd and I are on her left, out of the picture. I'm sorry, I took it sideways so you'll have to bend your neck to see it.


Mary said...

It's so nice to see her laughing and having a great time. Special thanks to the Olers for taking such great care of her every day! I'm glad you and Dad made it out for her birthday!

Mickey said...

Pat what a beautiful entry. Very touching. Your Mom still looks wonderful & so happy in the video. Nice to hear her voice. She's a sweetheart.

Haf Dozen Reasons....... said...

That is a very sweet post about your dear mom.

So sad to see them get all that confusion in their late years. They have so many memories to share.

The cake looked delicious too.

JQ said...

I'm glad I had to wait to listen to it -- quite moving. You're a good girl to travel so far.

sara said...

good to see her

Aleta said...

This was an incredibly sweet post. My grandmother had Alzheimer's and my aunt has Alzheimer's... it's difficult on the children. But your post shows the love and support and being grateful for having her here. That's wonderful!

Amy said...

Am I the only one who was moved to tears watching the video? Looking forward to a better time when she remembers me again. Great post, Mom.

Mike said...

No, Amy, you weren't the only one.