Today it was Halloween. Our first one in this house. The first Halloween I have shared with my mom in absolutely decades upon decades. And I realized, my mom forgot how Halloween works. She hasn’t had anyone trick or treat in probably 25+ years where she was living. She has lived on a sailboat, a master planned community for the 55 and older, and even a retirement center. She hasn’t had anyone come to her door in all those years. And she was never one to really celebrate it by dressing up. She was teasing me about my pumpkin-decorated sweatpants and black t-shirt. About 2 weeks ago we put up my gel clings on the windows, proclaiming “Trick or Treat” with pumpkins and other fall things. And I have out my pumpkins and gourds in a bowl by the door, as well as my cute Turkey on the dining room table. But, she now has Alzheimer’s. And this year, I am home alone with mom on Halloween. Alone. Yeah; It has been interesting, to say the least.
Last year we had something like 5 people come and ring our doorbell. We had so much candy left over, we gave it away! We took bags to our church for them to give out during Coffee Hour. And of course, this year, the doorbell was constantly ringing. I went through 2 bags that were 5 pounds each. Our dog, Poca, was vigilant and kept me company each trip to the front door. Each time the doorbell rang, it scared my mom. I hadn’t thought about the holidays and how each of these separate holidays might be for someone whose day starts over every 5-10 minutes. Tonight, I tried to prepare her by cutting open this huge bag of candy, setting out a bowl next to the door, and having her watch me fill it with the candy. I told mom the doorbell should start ringing soon, as we had just finished dinner and it was about that time. The first time the doorbell rung, my mom jumped about a foot off the couch. And afterwards, she was shivering with cold because I had opened the front door. She asked why someone rang the doorbell and who it was. I explained it was Halloween and the neighbor kids were trick or treating. She settled back into watching her TV program on the couch, but I don’t think she really listened to what I had said to her; she was far more interested in watching Wheel of Fortune. The bell rang again; she jumped again; the dog barked again and walked to the front door with me. Mom asked me why people were ringing the doorbell. Each time it rang, she asked why. And this went on for at least 3 hours. I explained that children were trick or treating. She looked confused, so I explained that it was Halloween and kids dressed up and rang your doorbell, asking for candy. She recalled, or said she did, that she used to do that, but she also said it was so long ago, it was sort of “murky.” The doorbell rang again, and again, and she asked why again and again, and jumped in shock and was cold again and again… and the dog was barking again…each time the doorbell rang. I was thrilled when I ran out of candy! Don’t get me wrong, I was having fun seeing all the cute little ones. Some of the costumes were stellar! And I would give mom a piece of candy now and then, and she loved that. But she was confused by the entire process. I think she was happy when I turned the front lights out and we settled in to watch my TVR’d episodes of Bull.
The dark, foggy, wet, and cold night of Halloween has come to an end. Mom is in bed. She was actually sleeping on the couch. She rarely does that and usually won’t admit it. Tonight she said she felt herself sleeping on the couch! I coaxed her into bed and she happily went. She was giggling at her slippers, calling one a “silly twit” because she could not get it off. She climbed into bed and gave me her loving hug, telling me how much she loves me. It was a sweet end to a weird day. during which the sun never shone through the windows.
As I went to the kitchen to put my baking things (flour, sugar, yeast) away in their new, glass mason jars, I happened to notice mom’s pills. She had taken Sunday night’s dosage this morning, instead of her Tuesday morning pills. That could certainly explain her confusion over Halloween and trick-or-treating. And it would also explain her day-long lethargy. So, I guess I am going to have to be more vigilant when she takes her meds!
And I am going to plan ahead as to how we will be approaching the upcoming Holiday Season. I am thinking when we all sit around the table and eat, it will probably just be a meal, and may not bring about Thanksgiving to her mind (she is from New Zealand and increasingly refers to life there, prior to living here, so I am not sure she will recall the traditions of Thanksgiving, since it was not a part of her life as a young woman). But when the snow starts and I pull out all my Christmas decor, I am hoping the clues all over the house will remind her of what we are celebrating, like the big tree in the middle of the living room, pretty lights, etc. I cannot wait for the lights on the house to go up! Christmas and snow and the season are just so wonderful, I am prayerful she will just get caught up in all of it and go along for the ride, as they say!