Our family celebrated many holidays with Mom after her diagnosis of dementia. I recall on one particular Christmas, the morning of December 2016, we had to leave Mom's home because of a unexpected power shortage from a winter storm in her part of town. It was tough and very frustrating trying to convince her she needed to leave to go to my brother Rob's house. I firmly told her we could not stay without heat and electricity. "Well what about Christmas? " she said with a long face and quivering lower lip. "We always have Christmas here!"
After some final protest we were able to get in the car, gifts all loaded up and we drove a short distance to Rob's to "have Christmas". Once she was settled with a cup of tea, the long face disappeared and she relished every Yuletide moment.
In between though, she kept asking to go home. We reminded her she could not go home because there was no power and each time, she would ask "Why?". Trying to logically explain "why" to Mom was like talking to a wall; her dementia brain was just too emotionally charged for reason to work. Once more, she asked to go home, again we explained she could not return home because of the power outage caused by the storm. "But Whhhyeeee?" Rob jumps in and playfully says: "Because you didn't pay your bill so they cut off your electricity that's why." She suddenly became very defensive and adamantly replied: " ROBERT! I always pay my bills!!."
We all fell over in a fit of laughter. It was our Christmas miracle, the repetition loop suddenly stopped and there was no more talk of going home.
Shortly after supper, we heard on the radio the power was restored and lights were back on. Once again we loaded up the car, this time with her opened gift bags and took her home. As Mom was putting away her coat, I unloaded her gift bags and placed them under the tree in the living room.
As she waltzed into the living room to investigate what I was up to, she zeroed in on the gift bags under the tree. She gasps, "Oh no! We forgot to bring the presents over to Rob's!." I took a deep breath and sighed: "Mom... these are all your gifts". "All mine!" she beams. We painstakingly went through each gift-- me telling her which gift came from which person. Being in the moment and witnessing her relive opening her gifts was both funny and heartwarming. Her joy downplayed any negativity from the day.
Joy to her world. Joy to my Mom. Looking back, I am so grateful to have had that very special holiday mother-daughter memory.