Last year was the first year my Mother didn’t recognize me at all . . . not even a glimmer. I’d been expecting Alzheimer’s to take away her ability to recognize my face, but wasn’t really prepared.
That was the first Christmas it seemed to make no difference whether or not I called my Mom for the holidays since she didn’t know whether it was Christmas or St. Swithens Day, whether it was me or the Easter Bunny. She’d long since forgotten what the telephone was and what those noises coming into her ear were.
Christmas was always a big deal for Mom and me. She’d come home from work with a fiendish grin as she scurried down the hall to hide my gifts (which she hid so well that, long before Alzheimer’s took hold, we’d be finding gifts into Valentine’s Day). I always loved trying to find the perfect things for her, something that’d show how much I love her, something to make her feel pampered and special. I particularly loved wrapping Mom’s gifts. We always exchanged multiple cards and I’d begun putting a hankie in the “mushiest” one to dab her Christmas tears of joy.