The day before Easter. I had a hiking date with a friend today and we hiked and talked and encouraged and enjoyed the gorgeous weather and scenery while the hiking kicked my butt. After we parted, I saw mom had called and The Villas had called. Rather than call back I stopped in to check on things. I walked in the house and the 2 caregivers were in the kitchen and as I approached they immediately started apologizing “I’m so sorry, your mom thought the brunch was today and she got all ready and we thought she had the day right so we helped her get ready and her new shirt looks so pretty. And then you didn’t show up and we got worried and tried calling. We knew you wouldn’t just not show up and we figured out the brunch must be tomorrow, on Easter Sunday.” Mom had the day wrong. She got up a 5am because she wakes up early on days she has something planned and she worries about getting dressed, what she will wear and how long it will take her to get ready. She was up at 5am and got herself ready and sat and waited. And I didn’t come. And I didn’t answer the phone. When the caregiver suggested that it may be tomorrow, mom realized then she had her days off. By the time I got there, she was so exhausted and frustrated with herself. I walked into her room and she was all dressed and sitting in her chair and her face was just fallen and tired, and resigned. I brought her some cake and we got her new outfit off and she had cake and was falling asleep as we were talking.
Easter Sunday. I called Crystal at 7:30am to see if mom was up yet. She sounded drained and told me she wasn’t feeling well. She was really sick and yet she shows up to work to provide care to mom and the other residents. Residents are the heartbeat of care facilities and caregivers are the heart that keep everything pumping. Mom wasn’t up yet and Crystal said she would get her up by 8am. Steve and I got there at 8:45am in case she needed help. Mom was dressed, sporting her new shirt, and I touched up her hair and put on her jewelry I brought for her to wear. Mom loves to dress nice. We headed over to mom’s longtime friend’s house for Easter Brunch. Mom handled the house full of people well. It helps that she has known her dear friend and her family for almost 50 years, so nothing was new. She isn’t able to visit or participate in a group conversation very well, but she listens and tries to follow all the threads of conversations. She enjoyed herself and after a couple hours, Steve noticed she was done and ready to go home. You was tired and her eyes were droopy. I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be for her to be in the midst of many people, several conversations covering many topics, sorting through what she is seeing and if it’s a hallucination or not, navigating the food choices, getting to the bathroom and every other thing required to participate in a family Easter Brunch that I take for granted. She enjoyed herself and was ready for an afternoon nap!