Perfectly Imperfect Holidays

My sister and her son drove up from the south for Christmas, especially to see Grandma.

The wheelchair collection provided plenty of entertainment.

Before they arrived, I was concerned because Mom’s status is so wildly uncertain.  All sorts of thoughts were running through my head:

Will she get out of bed?  be able to talk? make sense?  Will she have more scary delusions and get agitated?  Might she swear at her grandson for no reason like she did this summer when she didn’t recognize him?

When you only have one grandkid who happens to be long-distance, and he only has one grandparent that he’s ever known, the pressure’s on more than usual.

My sister and her son arrived two days early, (so I thought) when I was still considering preparing a room where they could sleep, wondering how long it would take to clean up the tornado in the kitchen, and if I would shower at all that day.

Turned out that I’d misunderstood their plans.  I’d also forgotten to pick up Mom’s gifts for them as promised.

Plenty of other things went unexpectedly, but thankfully we had all agreed ahead of time to make no concrete plans for our visit and to try to harbor no expectations – we would go with the flow according to what each day looked like with Mom.

As it ended up, Mom was at her best all week.  Although she wasn’t feeling like venturing out of her facility, we spent lots of time there with her.  We lugged in crockpots, toaster ovens, CD players, all kinds of contraptions to turn her room into holiday central.

We all got a little kooky and edgy being cooped up in that environment for long chunks of time four days in a row, but somehow it all worked to be the best it could be.  I’m so glad they all got some high quality time together after a heartbreakingly difficult visit earlier this year when Mom was in the hospital and didn’t recognize them at all.

Mom had an extra wide smile whenever her grandson was in the room:

She had her good sense of humor intact when the boys got wild:

and wilder as the day went on……

We all had our less than ideal moments, but this is how each day’s visit ended:


This entry was posted in caregiver stress, support, and respite, dementia, family issues, inclusion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Perfectly Imperfect Holidays

  1. Laura says:

    So glad that it went OK – it is great to read of another’s concerns before hand as well as ability to appreciate what went well …

    We are getting better at knowing what the out-of-town sister & her husband can do & can’t – we hand over a list of shopping for bulk items such as toilet paper, depends, non-perishable food (elder lives in our home); use my brother-in-law’s skills – carpentry, electical etc. without reservation & even knock on their bedroom door & pull them away from their computers to ask them to be with my mother-in-law so we can sleep or escape briefly.

    Helps, too, to keep expectations modest & celebrate surprises – sister-in-law handled the 7 – 11pm shift well so my husband got more sleep than usual for a week! They did the dishes after the big meal – a first in over 10 years!!!

    Great photos Meg – we got a few, too – should be priceless in a few years ….

    May all Care Givers have more Ease & Joy than they anticipate this year!

  2. Megan says:

    Hi Laura,

    Sounds like you had a good rhythm this year! I know you in-home caregivers are facing a whole other world. I’ve missed having Mom at home lately, and I also know how much harder it is in many ways. Glad you got some extra support, if only for a week.

    Take care and thanks for writing!

  3. Kathy says:

    Sounds like the makings of a perfectly memorable week 🙂
    So happy your mom was feeling up to participating

  4. momsbrain says:

    I am behind, as usual, but very happy to read how well it all went. My siblings are now prepared to go with the flow, too. Makes things easier to leave expectations low. And then when your mom had such a good week – well, that’s just terrific.

  5. shriya says:

    my grand pa is suffering from this and granny can not tolerate this they have fights regularly, i even tried to pull a spiritual programme through policies but all in vain, some suggested that grandpa and granny needs a vacation and some says they need a separation. but i wish to god that this type of disease should not happen to any one. at least not to humans.

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