The Very Imperfect Party

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It was a very imperfect kind of birthday party.  Some parties are like that. We did get almost the whole family together to celebrate Mom’s 80th.  And Mom did seem to like the meal we served. She paid attention to the cards as I read them aloud to her, though she didn’t respond much and told me I could have all the cards.

She did blow out her own birthday candles, but when we served  the cake and ice cream she just wanted to sleep…sitting upright, on the couch. So I covered her bowl and put it in the freezer. And then half the group had to leave for work shifts and the party quickly dwindled to a faithful few. Dad even took Mom home so she could sleep there.

I wanted it to be a special day for her. But Mom just wanted to sleep all afternoon.  A little after supper time I brought her bowl of cake and ice cream back to her, at her home. She quickly ate it up.

While I was at their house, and now that Mom was awake, I really wanted to get a picture of Mom and Dad, both wearing their red shirts and looking all cute. But Mom just wouldn’t smile.  We got some “interesting” pictures, but none of them showing her beautiful smile.

I changed her out of her party clothes and into her night gown before I left.  That didn’t go well either.  She was mad and crabby.  At one point I started fake crying just to see how she would respond.  She stopped yelling, looked intently at me, gave a little smile and said, “I can do that, too.”

Yep, it was one of those kind of days.

But my husband assures me that, while I was reading the birthday cards to her earlier, he saw glimmers of knowing and smiles.  He believes a part of her “got it”.  I hope that’s true.

I hope she knows that she was surrounded by people who love her today. I hope a part of her senses that some of us wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for her, and that all of us who were packed in the room singing to her, owe so much of who we are to her influence.

But if she doesn’t realize it now, I know someday we’ll have a feast in heaven, when her mind is restored again. And what a blessing it will be to thank her then for all her love and for all the devotion she poured out on us all. And what a joy to think that then she will be able to look each of us in the face and know who we are and know that she loves us and know that she is loved.

Today was a very imperfect kind of party.  Some parties are like that.  But someday ….


  1. As for as the cookbook; I could never trash such memories of Mom baking goodies. Special like my Mom’s Bible!!!!
    Alzheimers/Dementia takes a huge emotional
    toil on the family caretakers. A friend takes care of a family member; treated like an outcast and hurt so much by cruel words and behavior. Holding on to that last thread of commitment before she goes to a facility. Running on very little sleep; he deals with her
    sneaking out and crossing the highway. Also found keys and tried to drive. Such a sad ending to a long friendship/marriage.
    Please offer your help to caretakers to give them a break; it would mean so much. Total burnout comes after exhaustion from so little sleep and feelings hurt over and over by a total stranger who once was a dear friend. Thanks.

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