Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I know I've mentioned my mom a handful of times. Some of you (especially those who don't know me in real life) might wonder where my mom is in all this. About 6 years ago, my mom was diagnosed with dementia. At that time she lived with my dad and he took care of her. At the beginning she slipped slowly in an out of reality. She'd forget where we were, she would forget how to do everyday tasks. She knew something wasn't right, but she would either ignore it or get angry when either my father or myself would bring it up.
Quickly she got worse. Her body became frail. She'd forget how to stand up from the couch. Plus she had bad knees and they started to get worse. Soon she couldn't walk without assistance. For 2 years my dad kept her at home, helping her with life. But my dad's health isn't good either, so I knew that we could not keep this arrangement.
We found an adult family home in a neighboring town with a wonderful caregiver. Mom lives with 4 other women in this home. Mary, the owner, is from Alabama and makes good old fashion soul food. Since Mom's from Houston, she's used to a lot of the same types of food. Mom seems happy there. She doesn't really talk anymore, not in complete sentences at least. Her knees are completely shot so she gets wheeled around in a wheelchair from the couch to dinner. She doesn't know who Dad and I are. She smiles when she sees us so I believe that she recognizes that we are there for her.
Saturday we went for a pre-birthday celebration. I bought her some pan dulce (Mexican pastries). She seemed happy. She tried to talk, but her words were nonsense. But it was good to spend time with her.
Tai's met her twice. He's friendly with her and tries to make a connection. As a massage therapist he's good with his hands. I think it's great that he tries to provide almost like touch therapy.
Mom won't be coming to the wedding. The site isn't wheelchair accessible. But she'll be there in spirit. I've bought her a mother of the bride tshirt. I'm hoping to wear some of her jewelry that day. Of course I'll frame a picture just for her to have in her room. I'm lucky. I know my mom loves me very much and she always wanted me to happy. I'm sad that she won't be here for my wedding day. Sometimes this makes me real sad especially when I hear about other brides doing things with their moms. She's still a part of my life, she always will be.
So Happy 75th Birthday, Mom!


  1. Have you seen "Away From Her"? It's such a beautiful movie, and it really helps people understand what growing old and forgetting really means. I would highly recommend it.

    Happy Birthday to your Mom!

  2. I liked "Away From Her" too, but I don't know if you'd like it or if it would be too close to home. It pretty much wrecked me for a good day or two after I saw it. Great movie, but really sad.

    I'm sorry your mom isn't there for all of the wedding planning stuff, but I think you're handling it really well. And you're right, I'm sure that all your mom wants is for you to be happy. So your wedding day will be the happiest day of your life, even if your mom is only there in spirit, not physically.

    (I think putting a framed picture in her room afterward is a great idea too. Very sweet.)

  3. I tend to stay away from movies that talk about dementia and alzheimer's.; They do hit too close to home. I saw the Notebook after several people recommended it and I was like who the hell would recommend this to me.
    It probably doesn't help that I work with seniors!


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