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Christmas and Dementia

A Christmas Longing
Ornaments hanging from tree branch dusted with snow Walking through the mall always creates a little ache in my heart. I do not frequent the mall often, so usually it is special occasions that I’m shopping for – Birthdays, Mother’s Days and of course, Christmas. Mom’s dementia and delirium bloomed for the first time during a Christmas Season. It’s hard to believe this time two years ago we were planning her living space in the back of my house. We installed a beautiful electric fire place and covered it with greenery. It’s hard to believe that Christmas our family gathered minus my mother, as she sat (often restrained) in a hospital room. I feel so thankful that those early days of madness are past, yet still in me there is a longing. It hits me the hardest when I go Christmas shopping. Mom’s gifts that sad Christmas went unopened. When I cruise the aisles I can’t help but think, “Mom, would like that.” But I know there is no room the tiny space where she lives in the nursing home. I know that unlike many people with dementia who love to hoard, my mother is a purger. Knick knacks and even photographs have a good chance of making it to the trash can and technology (even the CD player) stresses her out too much. I guess the ache is a longing for Christmas’s past; Christmas that included both my parents, my in-laws, grandparents and family members intact, back when I hadn’t grown up enough to know that nothing lasts forever. And yet, I will again embrace gratitude. I am so thankful for one more Christmas with mom, my family and friends. I will be thankful that I am blessed. And I instead of knick knacks I will give mom what she needs: my love, my respect, my time, laughter, song and simple celebration. 
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