It will soon be Christmas, so I have been dropping hints to mother about the upcoming event, which will be held at her house in a few days, just like it is every year. She asks the usual questions as to what can she prepare, etc. I assure her that we are all bringing plenty of goodies for everyone with lots of left overs which she will be able to eat the following week. "But what about the children's presents?" she asks. Weeks earlier, I had taken mother to the bank to withdraw enough money for her great-grandchildren's Christmas gifts. I try reminding her, but after several attempts, I move on to other issues.
It's the day before Christmas Eve and the phone rings. "Jean, what in the world do you and the children mean by transplanting me here at this house?" "Mother, that is your house," I tell her. Going through the usual routine of having her take a quick walk through the house, pointing items out to her that will surely make her remember, doesn't seem to work this time. I tell her goodbye and go outside to where my husband is and let him know of mother's state of mind. As soon as I walk back into the house, I hear the phone ring again. It's mother and she begins with the same question,"Why did you and the others bring me to this house." My husband and I hurry on down to her house, thinking that we need to somehow satisfy her that she's "home." As we enter the house, I'm anticipating seeing a mother who is distraught over being in someone else's home, instead, she is smiling and telling us to come in and stay awhile. I say 'Mother, do you remember calling me and saying that you are in another house? "No" she says, "I reckon this is my house isn't it?" Just like she had never called me at all or had any feelings of "not being home." We stay for awhile and say our goodbyes, seeing that all is well.
After returning back home, I still feel a little uneasy about mother, so I decide to call after a lapse of thirty minutes. "Mother, are you alright now" I ask. "Well, I guess I am, I'm getting ready for bed," she answers. Just wondering, I ask if she remembers my husband and I visiting with her only less than an hour ago. "You mean you were down here?" she asks. I go on to tell her that I was just checking and to go on to bed. I hang up and within a few minutes the phone rings again and it's mother. She wants to know if I had intended to come down for a visit and if I was, she'd just stay up a little longer, never the wiser that I had just came from there.
Today is Christmas Eve. Doing my usual baking and last minute Christmas usuals, the phone rings. "Jean, why have you and the others brought me to this house?" she says. "Tomorrow is Christmas isn't it?" she asks. The only reason she remembers this is because I have written it down on her pad so she can read it as she walks by the kitchen counter. "Yes mother, tomorrow is Christmas." "Well, how will the children find me in this new house?" she wonders. I begin to tell her all the same things which I have done many days prior. If any of you remember the old movie "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray, you can begin to understand a little bit about the life of Dementia. Many days are replayed over and over again, just as if the record has a scratch on it and the needle automatically goes back to the beginning of the song and right when you think it's going to play through this time, it starts over again.
Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, Christmas Day. Some of mother's children live out of town and may not be able to come. If not, we will have to cancel our gathering and celebrate on another day. It's Jesus' birthday and I know He will understand. I just hope mother will.