My Best Christmas Gift

As we approach the end of this Christmas season and the beginning of a new year, I am feeling grateful for many things. Most of all, I am grateful that Kate is still with me and that we continue to experience “Happy Moments” together. They come and go as she experiences different moods throughout the day, but I come to expect them at some point every day. Christmas Day was like that.

She was still asleep when the caregiver arrived at 11:00. After getting her up and ready for our Christmas buffet at 1:00, she was still quiet. She remained that way for the balance of the day. I call this her “neutral” time because she expresses little emotion.

I have also grown accustomed to very nice evenings with her after the caregiver leaves at 7:00. I wasn’t sure that night would be one of them, but I got in bed with her right after my shower and turned on a YouTube video of “Christmas in Vienna” from 2008. We attended that very concert. That led me to reminisce with Kate, and I extended that to include many other experiences we have had during the Christmas season as well as other special times throughout our marriage.

As I talked, Kate perked up and began to smile. This continued for almost an hour until it was time to call it a day. She never said a word during this time, but her facial expressions conveyed her happiness and her love. Most of the day hadn’t been that special, but it ended beautifully. Her smile, facial expressions, and holding her hand made all the difference. It was a beautiful way to end another Christmas Day together. That was my best Christmas gift.

Two nights later and again last night, we had very similar evenings. I know moments like these may seem trivial, but they mean the world to me at this stage of her Alzheimer’s. They are part of why I say Kate is my greatest source of stress relief.