My father loved to dance. He was always first on the dance floor at a party or wedding. I will never forget him dragging me out on an empty dance floor at my high school father daughter dance night. He had looked forward to that very much and had made me a deal about attending together. I was less enthusiastic about though lost my dancing self consciousness as a young adult.
My mother though never did. She and my father at some point took ballroom dance lessons together, which I think suited her. She could tap out the beats of a waltz.
And yet, since arriving at this particular stage of dementia, Mom cannot seem to stop dancing. A freestyling, so what if there is no music kind of way. One day recently, Mom and I were looking at a magazine together and saw an image of a drum set. She immediately suggested we dance. So dance we did, me twirling her and her twirling me. Sometimes there is finger snapping too.
Most of the time, I am grateful that my dad missed seeing Mom go downhill like this. Sis and I are agreed that it would have broken his heart too much too bear. And yet, I wish he could have danced with her like this– confidently, with music only in their imaginations, through the assisted living halls.
Well, much time has passed since I last posted here. It’s been a blur of taking more time for myself including several trips, reinitiating my relationship with Nothusband, and job hunting for a new role. Suddenly, though I find myself facing the complicated question of what to do about Christmas for Mom. And for me.
Thanksgiving was both easy and hard. It was hard to accept that holidays are simply going to look different from here on out. But it was easy to find a way to be together. Sis, Nothusband and I cooked and brought her a plate of food and a bunch of fall flowers. I bundled Mom up for a walk together.
But Christmas is a whole other story. Just four years ago, Mom would decorate a house full of Christmas trees, throw a couple of parties, shop for towers of Christmas gifts and do enough baking to give most of her acquaintances a box of cookies. She loves Christmas.
So the other night after work, Sis and I trekked up to the facility with an artificial tree, nonbreakable ornaments, and a box of other decorations. It was a happy evening though I could not help but feel the difference for Mom as I hung every ornament on her tree. But Mom was delighted. I think of her comment to me years ago, when I asked why she put so much work into Christmas decorations.
“When I am near a Christmas tree, I am happy.”