Celebrating Christmas

The past few weeks have brought with it the usual stresses associated with Christmas as well as special ones related to Kate’s Alzheimer’s. Here are some of the key things that happened.

First, she started late with her Christmas shopping and then had great difficulty ordering online. She wanted to order 1 Vikings and 1 Falcons Pillow Pets for the twin grandsons. She ended up ordering 2 Vikings and having them shipped here which might have been too late for us to take with us. I ended up making a new order with delivery to Memphis.

I had given her instructions that we would give Kevin and Rachel, our son and his wife, a check for Rachel’s birthday as well as Christmas presents for the whole family. She ended up writing two checks for a total of less than we had agreed upon. Neither arrived for Christmas.

We had bought 3 gift cards to a yogurt shop for their children, and she misplaced one of these. Rachel had to arrange another. She didn’t get the other 2 in the mail early enough to arrive for Christmas. She also tried to order Sonic gift cards for the grandchildren but wasn’t able to do so. I ended up doing it for her, but it was too late to arrive for Christmas.

She worked 2 hours trying to order a TCU shirt for our oldest grandson but was unable to get it done. I did this for her.

On Christmas morning in Memphis with our daughter’s family, we opened presents as usual. We also took a break after opening some of them and returned to opening the rest later. We had purchased a gift card from a local restaurant for Jesse and Greg. When she hadn’t given it to them, I suggested she do so. She wanted to hold off. Then later she told me she wanted to do it “tomorrow.” That evening after our Christmas dinner, she told us (Jesse, Greg, and me) that she thought we should just wait to open the rest until tomorrow. I told her we had already opened all the presents. After we retired to our bedroom, she told me she had been thinking all day that Christmas was tomorrow. I could tell that she was troubled by this recognition of her mistake. Recently she has seemed more troubled by her Alzheimer’s though she doesn’t say much.

Last night our son, Kevin, called to say that most of the things that we had purchased had arrived. In the process of talking about things, he asked if we had opened the CD he had given us when we were in San Antonio for Thanksgiving. I told him I didn’t recall a CD. We told him we would look for it. This morning she found it while taking down our Christmas decorations. He had given it to Kate and hadn’t told me about it. Of course, she put it in the tree and forgot it.

We went to a movie last night, and she seemed especially pleased for us to be going out. I found myself a little down last night, as well. In fact, I woke up around midnight when I received a phone call from Dad. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I couldn’t get my mind off what I believe is the fact that she is declining faster than I had hoped. Furthermore, I think she is feeling the same way but not saying anything. I can’t help wondering about what things will be like next year and how we will be affected by her condition. I am feeling the same compulsion to be with her and hang onto her tightly.

All this comes at a time of great stress for me at the office. I had to let Regina go after 28 years, and I listed the building with a realtor just before Christmas. Furthermore, I see no signs of immediate improvement.