What a crazy couple of weeks in late December. Like you said, Eve, much of it was happy and festive. But having Mom in hospital for almost a week with pneumonia over the holidays shook me up, maybe more than it should have.
Sitting with her in the hospital around lunchtime on Christmas Day was the worst part. Not because her condition had deteriorated. The antibiotics had started to work and she was getting better, well enough to be leaving the hospital in a few days if her progress continued.
For me it was that although she’d dodge this pneumonia, she won’t ever be herself again. Nothing like she was before Alzheimer’s struck. This isn’t news, of course. She hasn’t been herself for years, to the point that I doubt she knows who any of us are anymore.
I thought back to Christmases when I was growing up, when Mom was such a force. The one who was busy for weeks with shopping, baking, staying up late wrapping presents. She pulled everything together to ensure that we enjoyed Christmas, whether we were ripping open the carefully wrapped presents under the tree or tucking in to a feast of well-loved dishes that we had only once a year.
This Christmas Day, when I sat with her listening to Elvis’ Christmas Album (she always loved Elvis) and trying to get her to eat, I felt extra sad about all we had lost over the past several years.