Remembering Mama and her Birthday Chuckles

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Sometimes you can’t help laughing even though Alzheimer’s can make people agitated and angry. Mama is in my heart and thoughts every day, but especially on her birthdays. Today is her sixth one with Jesus. I’m thankful I can relive some of these moments we had together, and though bittersweet, they still make me smile…

September 2015

The other day I was visiting when Mama shuffled into the kitchen. Dad said, “I love you, Nina.”

Mama hollered back in a hostile voice, “HOW MUCH?”

Dad smiled, “Big bunches!”

A little later I was coaxing Mama into trying some V-8 juice for the first time. She took a sip and yelled with angry vehemence, “I LIKE IT!”

But today, on her 82nd birthday, Mama is mostly calm. And she says her birthday cake is good. And when her grandson sings happy birthday over the phone, she says softly, “It’s nice.”

And before I leave I say, “I love you, Mama.”

And Mama quietly says, “I love you, too.”

And I’m grateful for every precious day God gives us together!

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?”
Mom 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!!


Today Mom would be 89! I wonder if/how they celebrate birthdays in heaven? I don’t know, but I am confident she’s full of peace and joy beyond what I can imagine, because she trusted Jesus for her salvation and is with Him now. And I’m grateful for the wonderful mother she was and that we will have an eternity together someday to make even more precious memories.

Mom, back in the day, lighting candles for my older brother’s birthday


  1. So happy to see a post from you! I pray your health and family are well. Happy birthday to your dear mama. I can imagine how much you miss her. As you said, she is eternally celebrating with the Lover of her soul and one day you will be reunited where there will be no more pain or tears.
    Hugs to you from Toronto.

  2. So good to read your post and know that , although birthdays of those who are no longer here can be tinged with sadness, we can also look fondly back on the ones we spent together and smile even if the loved one had dementia. Your mom was so funny and witty. I remember quite well my mom’s 80th when I began to realize how forgetful she was getting. Her two great granddaughters, who were about 1 and 3 at the time, were at my house celebrating mom’s birthday with the family. Mom kept thinking it was one of the girl’s birthdays and she’d say to the girls, “Blow out your candles!’ The three year old would say, “Blow out YOUR candles! It’s YOUR birthday!” Mom would laugh and say, ‘She thinks it’s MY birthday! Isn’t that sweet?” And we’d all laugh together. Thankful just like you of those precious memories of my sweet mama that God blessed me with for so many years. May God bless you as you continue to remind me of the memories I have tucked away in my heart of my mama.

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