Sunday, October 9, 2016

Celebrating My Mom's 99th Birthday

I have posted in the past about how we always get together as a family around this time of year to tell stories about my mom.   She died on October 6 just two days before her birthday on October 8.   Because of Teresa's mental decline, we decided to try to do something else this year.   Over the last few months, I have learned a lot about dealing with someone with Alzheimer's--most of it the hard way.     What I have learned is that we have to live in her world, because she doesn't really cognitively live in ours anymore.   

We were invited to a tailgate party before the ASU/UCLA game last night.  It was to celebrate Jeff's 50th birthday.   Jeff is the husband of Kerri's dear friend, Shea.   So we talked to Teresa about going.   I knew that I could get someone to sit with her if she didn't, but she said she really wanted to go.   Although I know it didn't do much good, I told her that we would be there for awhile and that she would have to stay.   Often times lately she will want to leave fairly quickly after we get somewhere.    

We decided that we would take the light rail to ASU for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it is so convenient and you don't have to deal with traffic and secondly, Teresa had never been on it that I can remember.   Her dad was a conductor on the Southern Pacific Railroad between Douglas and El Paso.   She traveled on trains most of her life because of this.   So we thought it would be fun.   

My mom was a die hard Sun Devil fan.   She watched every game that she could and was loved the Devils.   Because Teresa is always cold, I got her an ASU jacket at Sam's to wear.    So we "ubered" over to the light rail and took it to the party.   We have a very lightweight wheel chair which worked out perfectly.   

We had a great time at the tailgate party.    Teresa really enjoyed herself, I think.   She had a couple of glasses of nice cold beer and met a lot of people.  I have been able to find caregivers to help me with her during the week so that I can get a break for a few hours a day.  One of them is Hunter who is a senior at Mesquite High.  His dad is the baseball coach there and I had hired Jeff for his first teaching job.   Hunter was at the party and he is such a caring and nice young man.   I am not sure Teresa realized who he was, but he immediately came over to say hi to her.   He is so sweet with her!!!

We didn't go to the game and headed back on the light rail when everyone headed for the game.   Teresa was really tired and slept until late this morning.    She didn't realize the significance of the dates, but we did and it meant a lot to me to celebrate my mom's birthday in this way!  It was a special day!

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