Momma Memories and Smiles

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This Sunday was Momma’s fifth birthday with Jesus. Thinking back it was hard to see her declining with Alzheimer’s, but she still gave us love and laughter along the journey. This birthday account of 2014 still makes me laugh! I’m so grateful for my dear mom and all the memories we made together. I still feel her love every day…

September 5, 2014

Today is Mama’s birthday. And what an interesting party we had…

I baked a cake for her and went over for a visit. Mom sat with me and I asked, “How’s my Mama?”
Mom answers, “I don’t know. I didn’t ask her. Ask her? Esther? Where’s Esther?” She’s shouting now, “ESTHER!” (As far as I know Mom has never known an Esther.) Mom shouts, “CRAZY PEOPLE!” Then she starts singing random words.
I chuckle.

“Mom,” I say, “It’s your birthday.”
“It is?”
“Yes… You’re 81.”
“Eighty-one?” She says some words I don’t understand and ends with, “It’s possible.”

I start singing, “Happy Birthday to you…”
Mom shouts, “ME! NOT YOU!”
I start singing again, “Happy birthday to you…”
And Mom sings the next line in rhythm, “…said somebody but you don’t know who….” And we both start laughing.
I start singing again, “Happy Birthday…”
And Mom jumps in with, “…to me, Happy Birthday to Nina Fay….” And then she keeps singing but with different words and melody, “What a wonderful day…oh what a wonderful day…”

I write her name down for her and she says that it looks right. Then she suddenly bursts out singing, “What a Friend we Have in Jesus…” and sings the whole chorus word for word!

We gather around the kitchen table to have her blow her candles out. Dad says birthday candles have always been important to her, but she doesn’t want to be at the table now and she doesn’t want or know how to blow out the candles. He keeps trying to talk her into it.

Finally I say, “Mom, look at me, I’m going to blow out one candle and you blow out the other.” As she sees me blowing, I think it reminds her how to do it and she also blows one out. Hurrah!

She eats her cake, but is agitated and restless and wants to leave the table. At one point she shouts, “Go home!”
“Do you want me to go home?” I ask.
Mom cleverly answers, “That’s a good way to get there.”

We soon finish our party. I hug my folks and leave. And I’m thinking now, it wasn’t exactly how I pictured her birthday party happening—but it was full of love and laughter and music and cake. Mom seemed so clever tonight and made me laugh and laughed with me.

And I’m so blessed and thankful I got to make these precious memories with my dear mama.

Happy 81st Birthday sweet Mom! And thank you for always making our birthdays so special. I love you forever!!

Mom, making birthday memories for her children, back in the day.


  1. Oh, Cher, I loved your birthday memories of your mom on her 81st! Your mom and how the dementia made her act reminds me so much of how my mom would act at times, too. My mom always loved to sing the hymns as well. Most of the time she was still so sweet and kind but ocassionally the agitation that the dementia brought on would be pretty extreme. Like you, I usually had expectations of how things were going to go and then just ended up going with however mom’s dementia was taking her that day. My mom has only been gone for 8 months now and I miss her so much! Thank you for sharing your sweet memories! God has blessed you with the ability to touch others with your writing.

    1. Thank you so much, Ivy! You are such an encouragement!
      I’m so sorry you’re missing your mom. I still miss my mom, too, but I think the first year is the hardest. May God continue to comfort you and give you His grace.

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