Thanksgiving: More Than Turkey
Thanksgiving is more than a holiday. It's more about being thankful for what you have and who you have, and holding on to the moments and memories - making connections while you can.
It has been almost 2 years since we have seen my brother. We moved from a town that was a day's drive away to one that is now 2 days drive and on the other side of one of the biggest cities in the country. My poor brother hit town at rush hour.
I have been talking to my brother for months about coming for Thanksgiving. We had all been together for Christmas right before the world fell apart. He used to come for July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Mom had a little trouble with word finding back then, and was at the beginning of her diagnosis journey.
It has been almost 2 years.
"More mom than usual"
We cancelled some plans to be around other people and got our booster shots. We didn't want anything to spoil this reunion. I keep thinking my brother needs to see our mother sooner rather than later because she will only be getting worse. That is how this disease works.
I wondered what my brother would notice. Would he see mom as "more mom than usual?" That's how he has described her in the past. Mom has always been chatty and hasn't always chosen the right words.
Milking a dead horse
I remember how mom used to mangle, not just mix, metaphors. She once complained, exasperated, that someone changed their mind "at the blink of a hat!" She has always been self-effacing.
She kept making excuses for her (delicious) meal. Stop mom! It's great! "I guess I should stop milking a dead horse." We got a good laugh out of that one!
Now, mom has trouble getting most of her words out. She even notices and is frustrated by the struggle. Her speech therapist is helping her.
Mom still reads her love-inspired romance books and does word-search puzzles. It's her own word-finding that is the issue. My brother noticed all of that.
Acknowledging the changes and challenges
He said he thought her memory was okay, it's just the words that she had trouble with. I had to explain that no - it's all of it.
She doesn't remember anyone's birthday but her own. She doesn't remember conversations she had, a movie we just watched. She almost didn't remember where dad went to school. It was a big reason my brother went there. She pulled it out, though.
We also needed to talk about mom's medical issues she is facing. That's more for another day.
Time together is time well spent
The best thing about this visit is reconnecting my mom and my brother. She realized that she really missed him. She cried when he left. It made me cry!
My brother realized he didn't talk to mom nearly as much as he used to, and that he can and should. They both realized they missed each other. I showed mom how to use her phone to call him. She was worried about him on the drive home, so we called.
I don't know what we are waiting for. It's a good reminder to call, to connect. When someone is on your mind, call them, or text, or even video call. We have so many more ways to reach out and touch someone than we used to.
Let's get to it while we can! My brother is coming for Christmas. It can't get here fast enough!
Which, if any, of the following most often trigger agitation in your loved one living with Alzheimer's disease?