They Say It’s Your Birthday

A dilemma, if you will. My mummy will turn 90 on Mother’s Day. She has end stage Alzheimer’s Disease. I’ve had her in an Alzheimer’s facility near me for three years, plus a couple of months. Only a couple of my relatives have been to see her since she moved here. That was when she first came, and could still focus on people and even respond appropriately to conversation. Not always, but sometimes, and enough that you knew she was still somewhere in there.

Well, it’s been a long time since then, and she no longer seems to recognize that I’m with her when I’m there. Sometimes she’ll kiss my fingers, or tell me that I’m a “good one.” Mostly though, I go and sit with her, and talk to her, and hold her hand, and hug her and kiss her. I don’t get much of a response; sometimes she’ll pull away and say she doesn’t want.

So what’s the dilemma? Mummy will turn 90 on Mother’s Day. How can I let that pass without cake and ice cream and at least one present and, here’s the thing… at least some of her family around her? Should I invite my cousins to cake and ice cream at the home, and then have lunch at my house, where we can all have a stiff drink, and talk about her and what a horror show it is to see her now? Should I take the relatives out to lunch or dinner after? Should I invite them at all? Should I invite my brother, Biggus Dickus (he has a wife, you know)? They have made it crystal clear to me that they have no intention of ever coming to see Mummy. Ever. It’s too hard. No fucking shit. Try it every week. Do I tell the relatives that Biggus Dickus isn’t coming or that I didn’t even invite him because I couldn’t bear to hear him say no? Should I warn the relatives about what to expect? I know the answer to that is a resounding yes. But what else?

I could print out some pictures of Mummy and family, but Mummy can’t see them. I don’t think she’s blind, exactly, I just don’t think that her brain and her eyes are in sync any more. Or even close.

So, gentle readers, I ask you: do I gather the clan for the matriarch’s 90th? Or do we pretend that she’s already gone?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/10 at 05:20 PM in Random Crap

(3) Comments
#1. Posted by Brette on March 11, 2008

Have a symbolic party when it’s convenient for the loved ones, and bring your Mummy something nice on Mother’s Day is what I say. Then, you can have stiff drinks on both occasions.

#2. Posted by Cousin Steve on March 11, 2008

If you do it, we will come.  Or to paraphrase Yogi Berra:  It’s not too late until it’s too late.

#3. Posted by Tania on April 27, 2008

I know you posted this a while ago, but it’s not Mother’s Day yet. So here are my two cents or so:
There are a handful of ways that I, a complete stranger, can see to rationalize not doing anything or inviting anyone, or a least not your brother. But she will only have one ninetieth birthday. If it is unbearable or the hoo-ha of the occasion isn’t registering in her mind, you can always leave. And as they (the Butthole Surfers) say, it’s better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t done. I think Bigguth Dickuth and his wife shouldn’t be let off the hook either.

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