hello again! Christmas??

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by noodle31, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. noodle31

    noodle31 Registered User

    May 1, 2005
    81
    kent
    Hello

    have been thinking about christmas.

    mum is going to my brother xmas day, here boxing day.

    Dads birthday xmas eve. We all (us, mum, both brothers and partners and kids) intend visiting dad on his birthday.

    We have also said about visiting xmas morning, and boxing day.

    How will we beable to walk away and leave him tho????

    this will be mums 1st christmas apart from him.

    am dreading it already

    how do you cope???

    love Jane x
     
  2. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    836
    Australia
  3. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    Hi Jane,

    Last year was my Dad's first Christmas in the Home. I did not visit Christmas morning because I would have found it too difficult to leave him as you mentioned.

    Christmas Day was a fairly quiet affair at the Home and Dad didn't really understand that it was any different from another day (they have a party a couple of weeks before) . Although I paid a short visit in the afternoon, I'm sure that it was really for my benefit (guilt?) to know that he was ok.

    I don't know if it seems cruel, but it was my Mum's feelings that are my priority on 'occasion' days, like Christmas and anniversaries. Mum is aware of them, and is the one hurting, Dad is not really bothered. I'm sure you'll make your Dad's birthday and Boxing Day visits special, and I hope you can relax and enjoy the rest of the time with other members of your family.

    Here's another thread which mentions Christmas that you may like to read:

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=2187&highlight=christma

    Best wishes,
     
  4. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    My gut-feeling would be to follow Daughter's way of dealing with it,

    but of course that would depend on the care home being as good, and the AD sufferer being unable to comprehend that Christmas Day was any different.
    As with every answer or suggestion given here, it's so individual; not just to the sufferer, but to the home, and to the other family members who have to be taken into consideration (like Jane's Mum).

    (Only an opinion, I haven't been faced with anything as hard as this myself, yet)
     
  5. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Hello

    Last Christmas was just two months after my Dad had died and we could not take Mum out of the home she was in as we could have sparked memories for her as she had never asked about Dad since his sudden stroke, that was very painful, but when we visited on Christmas Day she was on a high with all the excitement at the home and couldn't care less when we left, it was like her Christmas gift to us.

    This year is so different, now off the galantamine she is tumbling downhill so fast, losing her speech and a bit of mobility but maybe that means we can bring her home for a while who knows.

    Last time I visited she was very tearful, totally lost, wanting to find her Mum and Dad and looking so vulnerable, that was just 3 days after dancing and laughing with my sister and daughter.

    The day after my visit she was quiet, but more happy thank goodness. I stopped trying to plan ahead ages ago, so will see how things are on the day itself.

    Kathleen
    xx
     
  6. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    This will be the first christmas that we will not have a christmas tree.
    I am too tired to be bothered to decorate it this year and Peg won't know it is christmas anyway.
    I am tired of buying my own christmas present,I am tired of buying something for Peg because none of it registers any more.
    Christmas day falls on a Sunday and that is what it will be for us---a Sunday.
    Norman
     
  7. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    Norm, so sad that you feel this way, although I can completely understand. Does it matter that there is no tree etc? Lets just hope it is a peaceful day. My thought are with you, Connie
     
  8. KarenC

    KarenC Registered User

    Jun 2, 2005
    122
    Los Angeles, USA
    Last year (Mom still in "assisted living", not yet in the dementia home) we took her to see Dad for the Christmas dinner at his nursing home, we remarked on the tree, I played Christmas songs on my little harp, we gave her a present ... and it really did not register that is was Christmas. I'm sure it will register even less so this year. Every day is just another day. We can only do holiday stuff for ourselves -- if you like having a tree, have one; if it doesn't matter to you, it won't matter to them.

    Karen
     
  9. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    836
    Australia
    Hoping to spread a little Christmas Spirit...

    Having lived for two christmas's in Japan, I know what it is like for that day to have no meaning whatsoever to all those around me...did that stop me wearing reindeer antlers on my head, giving out presents and playing the fool all day?? Not on your nanny!

    I've been sitting here reading how everyone is discussing how 'they' won't know its Christmas anyway and the consensus seems to be that we all agree that it is okay to do nothing with regards to Christmas and our loved ones with dementia. Is that correct?

    Well here's a different view:
    Funny thing is, I always thought Christmas was about the giving? Isn't that what we're all taught? Isn't it the day we're all supposed to charitable and hey I'm not religious or anything because basically I'm really p'd off at God for doing this, but I can see and appreciate the morals of the Christmas story. Christmas is the day we are supposed to be better, stretch ourselves beyond our normal human nature when it comes to giving and do something special for others..what do you think Jesus would have done, were he in our place? Isn't that what we are supposed to think about on this day?

    Would he have spent Christmas comfortable at home with all the other good christians or would he have gone to the people 'who didn't know it was Christmas' and showed them that he loved them, even if they wanted to throw rocks at him or string him up on a cross???

    I know, I know its different, you have children, what are they going to think?....well I think that if your children saw that you thought it was important to show your love on this day, that you didn't care how much it hurt, that you were going to do what was right, that would be a damn good example to be setting, afterall one day they may be looking after you!

    But, i hear you say, but they won't even know I was there. So what? What is the more admirable behaviour, giving a gift to someone who will reward you with their smiles and thanks and perhaps a return gift or giving a gift to someone who won't even know you gave it? Last Easter, do you know what I did? Dad was way past the point of even recognising his grandchildren, but I organised bunnies and eggs for them anyway, arranged them in his room and put a big card with them saying "To (grandchildren's names) lots of love grandad". It didn't matter that he couldn't give them this, I knew if he was capable he would have wanted those children to know he loved them. I can tell you they were pretty darn impressed with how tricky grandad was, never knew he had it in him!

    I'm sorry if I seem a goody goody two shoes, and sickly nice..(I'm not because if I was I wouldn't be being so harsh on y'all who are already suffering) But I'm going to make a stand here and say 'Go the Christmas spirit'.

    I will make one exception, those who are still caring for their loved ones at home, bless you all and I hope someone thinks of you on Christmas day, I will be if thats any consolation. I know you are exhausted and I understand why Christmas day might be too hard, but spare a smile for those of us who do care enough for people like you. Give your loved one a little kiss and a smile, even if they are swearing at you! Please feel loved and appreciated on this day.

    To everyone else I will be absolutely amazed if you don't come away from your loved ones feeling good. Don't focus on the pain of the visit focus on the fact that you are being a 'good person', why don't you even spread the joy about while you are with the other inmates?? If you don't come away feeling good then I would start questioning yourself, who programmed you in this way, that you no longer feel that zap of happiness from doing what is right??

    I know, I know, but every other day you do what is right and get no zap, just pain and hurt, but Christmas is a special day, its the one day of the year where you get to pretend you are invincible and kind and good all of the time. Enjoy it!
     
  10. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    I think it's great that you have all the enthusiasm and energy to do all those things for your Dad, but (you knew there had to be one!) for whatever reasons some people cannot. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're saying 'humbug' to Christmas, and even if they are, is that so terrible? It really is just another day (unless you're religious), hyped up to extremes by retailers. (Oh, alright - humbug :( ).

    I agree with letting the people we love know that we do love them, but efforts to show this don't have to be just on Christmas Day, especially when many of us are often pulled around with other differing family comittments. In fact, shouldn't it be as often as we can, and not just at Christmas? ('A loved one is for life and not just for christmas' :eek: ). I don't like to think of people feeling guilty because they aren't visiting at certain times/days because it's the 'done thing'.

    Feeling that you're being a 'good person' shows that you gain a lot from this too, Nat, but not all of us have your (good though it is) exuberance to be constantly giving. I can understand it because I recognise it in myself at times, constantly trying to do my best to raise Dad and Mum's spirits when I'm with them. But when I really stop and think about it, just who's spirits am I trying to raise? I'm not saying that I want to give up doing it, it's just that nowadays (perhaps because I've just got older) I tend to curb my enthusiasm a little when I realise how much hard work it must seem to my parents to keep up with me. It sometimes makes me wonder who's being jolly all the time for whom! :confused:

    Christmas can be a very difficult time for a lot of people and being able to have a bit of a grumble here is great! Norm, forget the tree, leave them growing outside, where they should be, and if you make one concession about it being Christmas, make it a huge box of chocolates and a bow for your frog, and have a Happy Sunday! :)
     
  11. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Norman

    there's a lot in what Nat says, but I do recall my worst Christmas, just after Jan went to her home. I visited after lunch because I couldn't face the forced happiness of a group lunch at the home over the meal itself.

    All I ate all day was a single fried egg. Scrooge could have called me for tips!

    But if you don't feel like it, you don't feel like it.

    If you don't put up a tree, why not get one of those Advent lights, and just switch that on. Mark another Christmas with Peg - that is at least one present.

    Get Peg some chocolates and tell her they are for her. If she registers, that's a bonus. If not, eat them yourself.

    Imagine if she snaps in and realises it is Christmas, and there is nothing laid on for you both? Sometimes we just have to travel hopefully, hoping we will arrive...

    Try something, though it will be hard.

    Perhaps the TP community can arrange a virtual Christmas session sometime during the evening/night? We can all lay in the hats and streamers ready...
     
  12. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    #12 Lynne, Oct 25, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2005
    Nat, I would never deny you the right to your opinion

    but you seem to have missed the point a bit.

    Jane has more than 'just' her Dad to consider here. I don't think it's going against the Christmas spirit to try and give her Mum one day of relaxation from her sorrow & grieving (not that she's going to forget for a moment, but I think you know what I mean) given that Dad is well cared for, and everyone's going to see him & make a big event of HIS birthday, on Christmas Eve.

    It's impossible to find a perfect solution, and 'caring' is always a trade-off of time and attention. Even if, like me, there are no kids around and no other parent-partner to look after, I shan't be with my boyfriend or other friends. Last year Mike invited us all (me, my Mum, his Mum & 3 siblings) to his house for Christmas day and Dinner prepared by his own fair hand. This year, Mum doesn't want that - she's losing a lot of her old self-confidence, and gets embarrassed when she forgets names etc.

    Sometimes, we have to make choices; sometimes, other people count too.

    Just my opinion ...

    Regards & Respect
     
  13. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    There are so many different angles to this!

    I also remember the Christmas after the one I described above. A friend invited me to have lunch at their place as they would be alone too. It wasn't traditional Christmas fare but it did remove me from my gloom and give me a bright spot in the day.

    And these days I feed Jan her lunch, then go to a full Chrismas do with Nina's family.

    It is a moving target, and adaptability and appropriateness for the time is all.

    What works now wouldn't have a while ago. What worked then would not be vaguely sensible now.

    Day by Day, Month by Month, Year by Year. Sometimes, Minute by Minute.

    Occasionally when things are really at their worst, Second by Second.
     
  14. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    836
    Australia
    Whoa guys, I know I know things are tough and all I was doing was expressing one of those angles Brucie mentioned, (you are so good at being diplomatic!)..I knew I would upset, but there has to be some other people like me who wanted to hear the other side.

    I see the 30 people in Dad's home who's families justify not visiting everyday and not just Christmas. I know that the majority of the people who are on here are not these kind of people but somebody had to point out the other side to Christmas. I was not going to let that kind of person read your well intentioned posts and justify their lack of caring. Guilt is a killer yes, but without it we would all be sociopaths and we should recognise it as a good thing too when it is justified.

    I'm sorry if I am too enthusiastic, but don't think I don't know how hard it is. I too have been suicidal, depressed wondering how I could go on. Don't ever underestimate the pain I've been through and am still going through every day just because I've chosen to say damn it all and act like a crazy happy maniac! Its an emotional response to this situation just like depression. This way works far better for me, even though it means I have few people who can understand me and some who must despise me.

    By the way I dread my visits, I put them off every day, I feel sick thinking about it and then I come home to Keith and tell him about it and cry quite often. But they have their good side too. I just don't understand why people can't see the good they do by visiting no matter how 'not there' there loved one is. I face the pain for the good it brings and yes I feel the pain and I feel the good. I'm not superhuman, so I am just raising the bar for folks, I don't say your a bad person for not visiting if you really feel you can't cope, but I'm sorry I see people everyday who are quite capable of coping and they decide to take the easier route. In the end I think this does them far more damage, because the guilt hurts and brings you down so low.

    Hazel your right Christmas is just a day, but I don't see that many people visiting on any other day. Perhaps homes are different in the UK but these folk are the abandoned people as far as I can see. They need someone like me to stand up for them and make them heard.

    I know no matter what I say on this I am going to be thought to be unthoughtful and uncaring, not understanding people's personal situations. But I have to stand up for Bill, Gayle, Ike, Jenny (god rest her), Fred, Ruby, Rose, Tom, Murray and the rest of them.

    Forgive me, I have weighed up the harm I can cause and the good I can do and think its worth the scoldings.
     
  15. noodle31

    noodle31 Registered User

    May 1, 2005
    81
    kent
    Thank you all

    Thank you,

    Lynne you are right...

    I have read all the replies and I have read my post again

    What i was actually asking, time to be blunt i guess is...

    HOW DO I COPE WITH THE SADNESS OF LEAVING DAD IN THE HOSPITAL

    not about bringing him home, that is just not an option.

    I MISS my dad every single day, because he has changed so much.

    most of the time he thinks I am my mum.

    I sit there with my partner and he asks him "daniel, hows my daughter?" HUH he recognizes him, so why not me???


    I dont know how I will cope with that over christmas, it is like grieving every day for someone who has not yet died.

    Thank you again for your replies.

    Norm, i so understand what you are saying, my mum and dad hadnt a tree up for the last 5 or so years.
    I never really understood why tilo this year when dads illness came into the open, we thought he was just bah humbug.

    Many invitations were refused, now i know because dad couldnt cope in a social setting :(

    {{{hugs}}} for you Norm

    love Jane x
     
  16. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    The power of TP is to see things from all angles [Nat, I have never been able to have a good argument with anyone because I can always see the other person's point of view] and it is really helpful to have conversations with people whose views we see and recognise, perhaps for the first time.

    What I have problems with is absolutes.

    What we all post here is our opinion on whatever topic. That doesn't make it wrong universally. But it also doesn't make it right universally. It may make it right for us though, and in a difficult world, that may be enough.

    Great bunch of people here! :)
     
  17. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    Yep, you're right, Nat, there are people in Dad's Home who don't seem to get a visit from one week to the next. (Although how about people who live too far away to visit?) I'm pleased you raised the issue and I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but the carer's of people in Homes on TP are likely to either be a) visiting Christmas Day, or b) feeling guilty because they aren't - and I just wanted to take a look at the alternatives.
     
  18. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    836
    Australia
    Absolutism

    Hazel,

    No offense taken, I was thinking today it must be that time of the month, I'm offending people again and getting hurt by their expected and quite justified responses (sorry to those who hate talking about such things) But its been medically proven that women think differently at such times, (see: http://physorg.com/news7524.html ) and although some can control it I have extreme and I mean extreme difficulties, I've always had troubles with hormones and this worries me in light of Dad's condition..... :confused: I should have recognised the symptoms last night when I was on such a huge high (completely natural, I don't do drugs because my brain is messed up enough) I also pigged out on biscuits today the last time I did that was a month ago.

    Yes Brucie I become absolutely absolutist at such times (not always a bad thing, too much compromising sometimes can get people in trouble, but...). I recognise that being absolutist is the incorrect tact to take here, I do try to soften my views with the 'here's a different view' and all that, but still I'm too forceful at times I know. I do try not to be.

    So please everyone bear in mind that I am very 'absolute' once a month and don't dare tease me about it until about 6 days afterwards, okay??? Gentle with any responses I'm very fragile at the moment, but then I deserve the same harshness i give out don't i?

    Either way I'm happy now because that other view got put out there.

    To put it in perspective, let me tell you some evil historical background to me. I was very tentative about joining this forum because I have been a member of a similar forum before but the other one was to do with being a step-mother. Anyway I offended a lot of people for sticking up for the step-children (people on it kept saying it was okay to not to try and be nice to their steps, it was scarey what they said about these children :eek: ) I've had a lot of majorly stressful times with my step-daughter but could not would not, yes I was being absolute, stand for this opinion to not be questioned. I could understand the step-mothers frustrations, I'd been there, I am there, but like sometimes on here I kept being told by everyone that 'I didn't understand and that I was just fortunate I was so strong.' I'm not fortunate it sucks having to be strong all the time, it means I do a whole lot of giving and yet regularly I don't get a return on it, (no Hazel the amount I get returns on it is far less than what I give out). I have however been programmed by two parents that insisted I be strong. To cut a long story short I was asked not too nicely to leave that 'private' forum.

    I am delighted to say that ATP is completely different and I am glad I am able to put my view across. Believe me I do try not to offend.

    I am sorry I have difficulties not understanding those who can't be as 'strong' as me, because I wasn't born this way I learnt it, so I have difficulties understanding why others can't, I had to go through hell to get here, (I guess I'm a little jealous of people who haven't been forced to be this strong)....but then childhood programming is so more successful than adult training. Please though also be aware that I am only 'strong' on the surface when i feel I have to be, I'm the same scared little girl on the inside who wants her Dad back.

    I guess all those lonely folk got to my heightened emotions this week, and with with the shock of Jenny's death notice last week, the messages about Christmas were all too much for me.

    Please recognise that I do try to do what is right, its oh so important to me...as you will have guessed,...I do think about the consequences of being wrong and of hurting others, I suffer deeply when I do realise I have hurt people, or if they think I have meant to or didn't care. I will say this though that the world needs people like me, because I fight hard and strong for those who can't, I refuse to buckle. I am a good friend to have when times are tough and I never expect anything in return. Its very lonely being so absolute I'm lucky I have Keith who can manage me and just shake his head and say 'Sweetheart you think and feel way too much and too deeply'.
     
  19. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    grief, I wasn't referring to you when I wrote that! :eek: [to put that in a can, but not a tin one, if you get my gist. ;) ]

    Your mind is open to other views and I never have a problem with your posts. :)
     
  20. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    836
    Australia
    Thank-you

    Brucie,

    Thanks for that, you know how a woman takes every remark the wrong way when she's in the state I am... :rolleyes:

    I realised half the way through writing the post that you weren't saying it about me, but I'm so scared of being 'absolutist', the wrongs done to people by those who are, are terrible, and I know I can be pig-headed so it is always a fear of mine.

    Its such an easy trap to fall into when you are opinionated and feel strongly about something.

    I just wanted to show that I understood that some might think I was absolutist, and that really I try not to be.

    I'm thinking to much again, such a damn drama queen, so I shall just shut up....best tactic during such times. :eek:
     

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