I enjoy looking at the memories that facebook reminds me for each day. The thing I enjoy most is reading comments from friends who have since passed away - like yesterday morning for instance, I was reading thoughts to wish my husband and I "Happy Wedding Anniversary" for almost each year I'd been on facebook. The last comment I read was from my mom. I think that's cool.
Mom was not an avid facebook user. She seemed to allow herself to get flustered with modern technology. The year I started my facebook account was also the first year her children all wondered if there was some instability happening with mom's mind. I don't know if that was the first year she'd been tested for Alzheimer's. I do know she was tested at least twice, but the results didn't show Alzheimer's - but she was in the early stages of dementia. Many people assume they are the same thing as Alzheimer's is a form of dementia. I personally don't understand the difference, but here's how it was explained to me: Dementia is like a wheel and Alzheimer's is just one spoke on the wheel -
thus everybody that has Alzheimer's has dementia, but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer's. I have never heard any other names to refer to dementia except for Alzheimer's.
Corey is more well read on the subject than any of the rest of us are - plus he has friends who had been schooled in the subject. There are seven stages one goes through when he or she has dementia. My mom passed away during stage five - which provided us with fun memories. I have always been grateful that none of us had to see her at stage seven.
My mom turned 70 the summer of 2009. Sunny had suggested doing a tribute themed party for her. We would invite everybody in the ward, everybody she had ever worked with, everybody that we could remember she had known. I made up some fliers - I don't even know how many. I had mailed about half, emailed a few and hand delivered quite the rest.
A neighbor had called me to ask if watch her girl who had been in pre-school with Jenna. I told her that I had to run some errands, but if she was okay with it, I could take Amber with me. That actually turned out to be an awesome blessing for me, as I didn't even have to stop the motor on the car. I would hand the fliers to the girls, tell them which houses to leave them at, and made a game of it. I think I must have picked a day that my mom was not home as we were able to hit all the houses in her neighborhood without having met her.
When I was down to my last six invites, I asked one of the neighbors if the girls could play in her yard until I came back. As it turned out, the neighbor was doing some gardening and the girls volunteered to assist. The neighbor was disgusted by the amount of snails that she'd come across while gardening. Jenna and Amber would eagerly pick them up and play with them. They each had three snails on the table when I returned. They were watching them "race".
They wanted to keep the snails but I told them that snails were not allowed to ride in the car. The neighbor put them in the garbage can after we left.
We encouraged those who couldn't attend mom's party to send a letter which might include any memories they had of mom. Sunny provided paper and pens for those who wished to write a letter during the party. We held it at Patrick and Sunny's house. Their children had made a giant banner and hung it over their garage. The birthday party was great! Mom was certainly surprised.
Corey had a special tribute to share and read a list of 70 things he loves about mom. He read the list of simple words or phrases, but would pause to relate an experience of why a certain thing had made it to the list. It was an awesome program. Wonderful memories. Enjoyable night.
All of her children took pictures, and Bill asked us to send in what we had and he would put ALL of our pictures on one disk. We started a scrapbook for my mom to put the cards and letters and I added the pictures. I had created 15 pages on the computer, but had added handmade pages with photographs and incorporated them with the letters - more than 65 pages total.
I don't know how often she looked at it. We brought it to her after we had moved her to assisted living. I pasted this to the top of it:
I thought if she looked at it every day, she wouldn't feel so alone (not that she was, but before she met Harold, she often felt that she'd been forgotten) but she kept it in a drawer - which defeated the purpose.
I'd forgotten that she had passed away the day after my 12th wedding anniversary date to Roland - or that she was buried the day before dad's birthday (which he didn't seem much for celebrating on earth - probably not in heaven; though I'm certain that their reunion was a great birthday gift)