Christmas 2022

I hit a bit of a wall as things were winding down Christmas evening… This is my third Xmas w/out mom, and my 10th w/out my dad. Honesty, the holidays became SO confusing for my mother that while I miss her, and the feel of how our family holidays used to be, I don’t miss how hard the last 7+ years of those gatherings were for her (and hence me).

Now my MIL has dementia… She is a far more pleasant demented person than my mom was, and my husband handles/guides/curates her with far greater ease than I was able to my mom (thank God). My daughter’s MIL struggles with border-line personality disorder. She was in my SIL’s hands, and my MIL was in my husband’s hands, yet I felt the need to be ‘on,’ be socially available for both women. It’s the holidays, if nothing else, leave them feeling good about their experience of the get together. It was exhausting.

Before dinner we played a couple of games. One required some pop-culture knowledge, which nether of the older ladies have a lot of. Watching one growl about this, and the other make excuses for not having any answers, (both of them did this repeatedly) was very hard. The other game (about describing color) was better, but my MIL, a retired scholar, was almost unable to participate. This was devastating. She would ask if she could choose another color card, receive an afimative answer, and then forget what to do next, repeatedly. It’s not a difficult game… It was so very reminiscent of my mom’s struggles.

After dinner, when my husband arranged an Uber for his mom, her hand-ringing was relentless. “When should I put my shoes on? There are two cars in the driveway! The driver won’t be able to find the house! Etc, etc, etc.” This is when I bolted. My DH and I drove separately, thank goodness.

The above is a mere outline. So many additional details that were just like when mom was alive, and I had to talk her through each interaction, remind her where we were, who was who, when we were heading out, watch her struggle so hard. While this Christmas wasn’t the same as it used to be with mom, it made me feel the same by the end of the evening. My daughter understood, and encouraged me out the door. My husband knew I wasn’t happy. The ladies in question, well, they each live in their own reality. I guess in some ways we all do.

I’ve spent yesterday sorting out exactly why Christmas evening was so hard, the nuances of it. So here it is in a post. No one’s fault, but icky none the less. Thanks for the listen. 🎄

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