Mar 10th, 2008

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?