Friday, October 14, 2011

Birthday Present



It's my mom's 89th birthday today. I send her love across the miles and bless my sister who will take her a cake and some of her great-grandchildren to celebrate with her.

It would not be right to think of her progressing dementia as a gift in any way and yet, I am glad she does not have the wherewithal to know what is happening here.

I remember how happy she was on our wedding day to have HOB join our family and how she would light up whenever he visited her when he was on a business trip and in her area.

She loved HOB very much.

She instilled in all of her daughters that once you married, you married for life and you worked through whatever problems you had. I have no doubt, also, being a woman of her generation, that she would believe that I should have been able to solve whatever problems there were here.

If she were her old self, I would have told her that I tried, that I was working on the marriage, and would have continued to work on it. Unfortunately, I would also have to tell her that I wasn't given a choice. HOB decided he was all done, would not agree to a separation, and he left.

I have to believe that after awhile, she would have understood and would have supported me and my new life.

In fact, I know she would have.

I have over a hundred pictures that show HOB and I standing side-by-side. At this point I can't bear to look at those pictures. Someday, when I get some perspective, I hope I'll be able to and to celebrate that part of my life, but for now I have to put them out of sight.

In my mom's mind, however, that picture of us side-by-side remains the same and, in an unspoken agreement among family members, no one tells her any differently.

We let her have that picture: stable, unwavering, constant, consistent.

The way love is supposed to be.

42 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Betty, birthday wishes to your mom. And while you can't share your pain with her, that is probably the kindest gift.

Anne Gallagher said...

Some days, I think Betty, it is just too much to bear. Like today, your Mom's birthday. I know she would have understood, would throw her arms around you and told you it wasn't your fault. (Which it wasn't.) But it's best at this stage to let her have her memories. They won't hurt her.

Mamma has spoken said...

Agree with Alex and Anne.
Sometimes the hardest thing out there can be a blessing...

Daisy said...

Happy birthday wishes to your Mom, Betty. You are protecting her from sadness and pain. That seems like the kindest thing to do at this point. You are not the cause of that sadness and pain and it is not your fault. I'm sure that she would support you and understand if she were her old self too.

Leah J. Utas said...

Very kind. There really isn't any point in telling her. Happy Birthday to your mom.

Old Kitty said...

BB, I wish your mum a very happy birthday. I just know she understands you completely and supports you and loves you. Take care
x

Out on the prairie said...

Happy Birthday MOM. My parents would have been the same age.Love the stair tour you took, maybe knicknamed Legs of Steel tour.I did 5 miles yesterday and feel a bit stiff, I will have to get out and limber up today in glorious weather.

Out on the prairie said...

Happy Birthday MOM. My parents would have been the same age.Love the stair tour you took, maybe knicknamed Legs of Steel tour.I did 5 miles yesterday and feel a bit stiff, I will have to get out and limber up today in glorious weather.

Laura said...

Happy Birthday to your mom!
I can understand and agree that it's best not to tell her. My mom passed away in the earlier stages of Alzheimer's. There were some things that it was best not to tell her.
And that's one less painful thing for you to bear...
Hugs from me.

M.J. Fifield said...

I wish your mother the very best of birthdays!

Eva Gallant said...

Happy birthday to your Mom.

Linda said...

As much as your mother believed in the permanence of marriage, I can't believe she wouldn't have given you all the love and encouragement she could if this had happened before the dementia. Since she's unable to grasp the situation, even if you did try to explain it to her, she can't prove it to you. But this is the same woman who shaped you and your sisters, and I believe she would have rallied to your aid just as your sisters have.

Brian said...

Happy Birthday hugs and purrs to your Mom!!!

ellen abbott said...

Yes, put the pictures away. When the time comes when you can look at them without pain, then you probably won't want to.

Slamdunk said...

Happy birthday to your mom Betty. You should not carry the burden in believing that you disappointed her. If she could, she would be supportive and loving as her daughter meets this challenge.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

I remember how painful the photos were...how I wanted to scratch his face out of all of them. I didn't do that, thankfully; however, I am now able to look at the pictures with fondness, realizing that he is the father of my children and things were good for us once. I feel sure you will get to that place one day. Peace and blessings to you.

Madi and Mom said...

Happy Birtday to your dear Mom!!
Letting her keep her precious memories is a big gift to give her.
God bless your entire family for the decision HOB made himself impacted all your lives forever.
Hugs
C

Marg said...

Happy Birthday to your Mom. What a nice gift that is to give to her, No news is good news. We all know that none of this sadness was your fault Betty. Take care and try to think Happy thoughts. Big hugs.

Lydia Kang said...

I am so thankful for my mom too. Those gerbera daisies are so lovely, thanks for sharing them!

Elizabeth Grimes said...

I hope your mother has a very special day today. One day (near or far), you'll understand all of this. Hugs.

Ms. A said...

Happy Birthday to your Mom! I agree. Sometimes there just no point in upsetting the applecart.

Betty, I know how hard all this is for you. If it helps, try to focus on the fact that HOB is the reason you have those two wonderful sons. Time will ease the pain, eventually.

Tabor said...

You have an excellent view about love and all its idiosyncrasies. Thus, I know the years ahead will be better and better and better for you. You also have a good view on what you can and cannot control and only work on the battles which you can win.

jenny_o said...

The ripples travel far, don't they.

Your mom is lucky to have a family who understands it is kinder to let her live in whatever world she sees.

I think you are amazing in your ability to process what has happened and forge ahead on a new path, so soon and so positively. Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

Flartus said...

Virtual hugs. Happy birthday to your mom--I think at 89, she's earned the right to enjoy it without any pesky bad news. Ignorance is bliss, baby!

Now go fill up some picture frames of you and your sisters, sons and friends!

Poetic Shutterbug said...

First Happy B-day to your Mom. I think that although your pain right now may be unbearable at times, I know from experience that in time, you will be able to deal more easily with your feelings. I also think as a previous posted said, the greatest gift you've given your Mom is to not allow her to share your pain. That is unconditionally the greatest gift of love.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Aww you're right it's probably better this way, although I'm sure she would be there for you.
Happy Birthday to her.

Brian Miller said...

she sounds like a wonderful lady...happy birthday to your mom....oy, hugs on the rest...

Gigi said...

Happy, happy birthday to your mom. I agree - let her keep her memories. Although, I am positive that were she able to know all the facts that she would have supported you 100% - because that's what moms do.

Thanks, by the way, for your very sweet comment today!

Lots of hugs.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I wish your mother a very happy birthday.
Have a good week-end.

Yvonne.

Ann said...

A very happy birthday to your mom.

Bouncin' Barb said...

A very happy birthday to your Mom. You made the right decision in letting her think what she thinks. No need to stress her. My Mom will be 87 in January and this post makes me appreciate how sharp and witty mine is and how thankful I am that she's still so independent. Dementia is a cruel thing. My father had a touch of it and it was tough. Good post BB. You're doing great! Hugs.

LittleSilkDress said...

Thinking of you and happy birthday to your mom.

Ally said...

Birthday wishes to your mom and hugs to you :(.

Miriam in KS said...

Happy Birthday to your mom. Holding you and her in my heart tonight.

Brian (not the cat) said...

All we can do is try to accept impermanance and love our way through it.

Linda Myers said...

A loving thing you're doing, letting your mom remember. I know she'd support you completely if she were healthy.

I have been where you are and I thought the rest of my life would be just leftovers. I was very wrong.

Thinking of you.

Velvet Over Steel said...

My mother didn't support me when I left 2 abusive relationships. The first was physical and the second emotionally and verbally abuse. NO support what so ever. HOWEVER, I did what I knew was right for both myself and my sons. I have no regrets except for staying as long as I did in the second situation. My sons supported me and understood, which is important so that they learn the 'right' lessons from what they saw and heard. The also know that I would Always be there supporting them no matter what; just like You would be there for your sons too, Betty; I have no doubt!! :-)

We all do our best and you're right; You did try and have the comfort of knowing that.. I had that same comfort know that too. Also, it's our mother's generation and times have changes. Causing both people (like HOB) to make poor choices and for STRONG woman like us :-) to have incredible support and resources!!

Love ya my friend!! ~ Coreen

Pat Tillett said...

Happy Birthday to your mom. Sometimes a truth untold can be a great gift...

Leanne said...

Pat's comment above is really fantastic.

Happy Birthday to Mom. Nothing more that I can write that your amazing followers above haven't already said. (You've got some wonderful blog friends, Betty. These people are smart. They care. They will be by your side, forever. And I truly believe that.) Thinking of you, always, my dear. Hugs!

Susan in the Boonies said...

Just one of the many, many stinky aspects of what you're going through.

I'm sorry, Betty. :hugs:

Baby Sister said...

Happy Birthday to your Mom. Those flowers are beautiful. I truly believe that if she was in her right mind, she would see (after some time, maybe) that you did everything you could to try and fix things. No one can force anyone to do anything, like you couldn't force HOB to work things out. No one is perfect and I'm sure if you really tried you could spend hours and hours picking everything apart. But that's not the way to live. You did do your best. You can be at peace about that. *hugs*

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betty .. many congratulations to your Mother .. and I think you've done the right thing .. however much it hurts - your mother is the one that counts .. many thoughts and a hug - Hilary