It’s that time of year again. Holidays, family, sharing and giving. But in my world it’s a confused mess. All I constantly think about anymore is celebrating the holidays with my mom and dad when I was a kid. From now until those early years, my memories are fading so fast. I remember tidbits. Like frames in a movie reel. But mostly, all those Christmas Eves and days growing up are with me each waking moment.
It’s getting harder every year. I know and remember that my dad passed almost 2 years ago (January 2014) and that my beautiful mom is still here but suffering from Alzheimer’s everyday. Being the youngest, that’s the hardest. I miss my parents so much, in many ways. I miss being a little girl and coloring with my mom on snowy winter nights waiting for my dad to get home. I remember the huge Christmas trees that we would always pick out and my dad would cut down, to be put up in our huge farm kitchen. I remember the small tree my dad would get me to put up in my room for me to decorate. I miss the caroling, the homemade hot cocoa, the excitement of not only Christmas day, but seeing all my brothers and sister and their families as they all arrived that marvelous hectic day. I loved all of it. I miss all of it. I miss sledding and skiing. I miss riding around aimlessly with my parents looking at all the Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music on the radio. I miss my mom and dad so much.
Everything keeps changing in my world, this Alzheimer’s World. We have moved and are far away from almost all of our family. My daughter is close by and I’m very grateful for that. The days are always warm and with the good weather comes better health for me, at least that’s what I’m told. I really don’t know anymore. I still can’t believe it’s been 6 months all ready since we moved from New York. It doesn’t seem that long. Change doesn’t come easy anymore and I long for some “ordinary” days again. I have made some new friends along the way and from my photos I see daily, I’ve been blessed to visit many family and friends throughout our travels. Memories that aren’t that distant but not yet in “full color” anymore either.
As everyone starts to celebrate their holidays this year, I hope all remember that each day is a blessing. It doesn’t matter the gifts or even the food – it’s the love, the family and friends, the laughter and the hugs. The most precious gift is to receive a smile, to give a smile, to share in a moment, create a memory and to always be thankful. Please be careful with words, as they can never be taken back; actions – for they can never be undone, and thoughts, for they tend to transcend our motivations. If a loved one doesn’t remember who you are, a significant life event, or even the day .. listen, talk, pay attention and please don’t ever correct. You may think it’s the “right” thing to do, but it’s not. Why remind us of those things we don’t remember anymore, or relive moments that we truly can never relive again. It will only confuse us more. Make us more hesitant to even talk to “you” or anyone else. To second guess our feelings, our thoughts, our emotions. Give us that moment to light up talking about a beautiful memory and/or person. Let us have that joy, that light, that pure delight in such a dark world. We need that. Even joking about “grandma” or “mom” not remembering, saying something inappropriate or laughing at something so silly, is an injustice to us. We are still humans. We still feel, we still love and we still do not want to be embarrassed or feel ashamed. Are your laughs or snickers to mask your own embarrassment or uncomfortable feeling? How do you think we feel? Let us just be happy, to celebrate the day, even if we don’t know what age we are now “45 years old (that’s how old I am)” or 65, or any other age. Let us just have joy for whatever age we are, that we are remembering, we are happy, we are loved. I know that’s what I want. I want to laugh, to cry with joy, to remember.. my daddy holding me, my momma making me homemade sweets, my brothers relentless teasing (in which I truly loved) and my beautiful sisters unending attention she always gave me. I want to swim in those memories. Close my eyes and remember the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree, feel the warmth of a wood stove and the brisk touch of the cold and beautiful snowy day. I want to run through the snow again with my dog Pepper and slide down our staircase to get to the tree sooner. I want to be lost in the chaos of wrapping paper and ribbons, of more food than I could ever eat and that overflowing feeling of pure love I was blessed to be surrounded by. I want and I need that.
I love you mom and dad. I love you my husband, my children, my brothers and sisters. I love you my aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and family.. Thank you for this amazing life I have had and for all the love you have always shown me. I am blessed. Thank you Jesus.
~Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Everyone ~
– Punky 🙂 a.k.a Melanie ❤