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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Alzheimer's Stole My Christmas Dinner - A New Years Toast

Uploaded: Dec 31, 2013

We didn't eat Christmas dinner with my father last week. Oh ? he's around at 89. Still "doing anyone I can and the easy ones twice," (famous Dad quote). Dad moved into a nursing facility this year. He ate there ? we ate at home.

Everyone agreed taking him back to the house wasn't the best idea. We discussed having dinner at his place, but plans never solidified. Instead, we visited in the afternoon and opened his presents together.

It's important to note that my father is in a lovely care center - terrific environment, great staff, lots of activity. New relationships seem to be occurring between Dad and even his fellow residents. And, he is surrounded predominately by women, the way he has always liked it.

If we would have stayed for dinner, chances are he wouldn't have remembered minutes after we left. Surrounded by practical perspective, I was surprised at my reaction walking out. Overcome with emotion, I lashed out at my mother.

"I can't believe we are all just leaving ? going home to cook our fancy dinner while he eats there. It's meaningless."

"Have I done something to make you angry with me, Laura?" she responded. This comment pulled my head out of my a** with expedient grace. It was a perfect reaction really, that made me realize I can't be mad at anyone else, I was mad at me. If I felt so strongly, I should have said something. I should have done something sooner.

It's so easy to blame other people when emotion hits, isn't it? But no one in my family knows how to act or what to do; we are plowing thru this new world together. Everyone is coping in their own way, trying to figure it out. And please Laura ? give some credit. If anyone has thought long and hard about all this ? it's my mom.

Post outburst, my thoughts reside here. Is the reason I would eat there because my father would remember I was there, or is there something more? Does it matter if he knows who I am? What makes relationships important anyways? If someone doesn't remember me - does the draw of the relationship lessen? Is that person I loved and our relationship "gone?" In the end - are relationships really only about ourselves?

But now it is New Years. A Food Party filled with celebration, high heels, and drinks. Who am I to stand in the way? So to lighten the mood and honor the season, here is a new twist on the ol' bubbly.

Everyone, raise your glass in toast to all our relations!

Here's to those who remember us, and especially to those who don't.

Mom, Dad and me
Christmas Day 2013

St. Germain Fizzy
Serves 6-8

Put 1/2 cup raspberries and 2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint into a pitcher with one cup cold St. Germain liqueur. Pour in 1 bottle of Prosecco and stir.

Note: St. Germain is a sweet and unique liqueur crafted in France from elderberry flowers.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Casa de Cerveza, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Casa de Cerveza is a registered user.

Happy New Year to you and your family Laura!

Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Jan 1, 2014 at 11:21 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

Great post. Thanks for opening your heart to us.

Yes, it is easy to lash out. Bravo to your mom.

Happy New Year.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Jan 1, 2014 at 11:32 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Thank you Casa and stephen. Happy New Year.

Posted by Mother of 4, a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Jan 1, 2014 at 6:45 pm

This reminded me of a story someone sent me a short while ago. I have no idea if it is true, but it certainly got me thinking. Here it is, I copy and pasted it.

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb.

He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was
well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.

The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health.

He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.

As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late.

He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'

He smiled as he patted my hand and said,

'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.'

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm >>

Posted by Brian Schmidt, a resident of Rengstorff Park,
on Jan 3, 2014 at 11:06 am

You're a good egg for spending time with your family, Laura!

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford,
on Jan 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I understand all too well, Laura. My best wishes for happy moments in 2014 to you and your family.

Deeply moving story, Mother of 4.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jan 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Alzheimer's is something that makes everyone challenge their whole lives, the whole way they think, it shakes our reality to the bone and then laughs at us. The things that make up our lives happen when they happen, and then they are over, though we carry them with us, imperfectly and awkwardly as we do, we don't realize how we do it or what kind of grip we have on things ... then we turn around one day and wonder what it was we've been carrying around, how much is habit, what is real.

I've lived through many a moment like this, and what's worse is even looking back later to think we have no idea what we are doing, or that it might not even matter ... what is, is, what was, was, life and love is ephemeral and undefinable. Is having to live through something like this good or bad, would it be better to never know it, or do we learn something from it? I don't know, but when it hits you it packs a wallop ... still it may be a wallop everyone needs to understand better and sooner that might help make all of us more human.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Jan 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Thank you Nora & Amen Crescent Park Anon! [need to "understand better and sooner that might help make all of us more human."

Posted by Ansh Singh, a resident of another community,
on Nov 4, 2016 at 2:49 am

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Posted by Buy Clenbuterol, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park,
on Nov 14, 2016 at 10:25 am

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