Christmas with family is always a joy, but this year was mixed with some sadness. My mom is much more frail and forgetful, she has lost interest in eating, she is noticeably deteriorated from 2 weeks ago when I last visited. In addition she was unhappy and feeling neglected by certain family members. I LOVED seeing her and loved seeing my other family members. But my goodness they could have spent more time with mom.
I arrived in California on 12/23; I drove from Oregon. My younger sister flew in from Pittsburgh PA that morning; my younger brother said he would come to visit mom and have dinner with my sister that night. I called my sister around 4:30 p.m. to let them know that I had hit San Francisco rush hour traffic and I would probably go directly to see mom and would not join them for dinner. My sister told me that my brother had turned back because the traffic was so bad. My mom was really upset that my brother didn’t come; she blamed his partner who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and is quite demanding. I told mom that my brother is grown up at age 59 and responsible for his own decisions. And mom said she feels really unhappy that he doesn’t call her or visit. (Mom cannot get out of bed or travel).
My sister told me later that she did not blame my brother for turning back in bad traffic; I told her that I just drove 500 miles and THEN drove all the way through the identical additional 60 miles of bad traffic where my brother turned back (his total journey would be 120 miles). I’m not “blaming” him but he made a decision and mom felt very hurt.
My sister and I spent a very pleasant Christmas eve with mom. The retirement home televised the Christmas service that the residents put on so all the nursing home residents can watch it. We sang along with the carols. Mom was still teary and upset with my brother. My sister and I joined her for supper on Christmas day and exchanged gifts. On Christmas day, younger brother called mom twice and she would not pick up his calls. My sister asked mom to talk to him, and to be a forgiving person. Mom burst into tears and said she feels this is her last Christmas and she feels he ignores her. Of her 5 kids and 3 grandkids, only my younger sister and I were there with mom on Christmas day or Christmas eve. She was distraught and sad. Really all she wants is all her family around her. My younger brother (who still had no clue that mom was upset with him) called me on my cell phone to make sure mom was okay when she didn’t answer his calls, and I wished him merry Christmas. Mom DID eventually call him back, and they had a pleasant conversation. So far as I know she has not told him how hurt and upset she was.
Christmas evening, my younger sister and I joined Pam’s family for an evening Christmas dinner. I baked a buche de noel (chocolate roulade frosted and decorated like a log for Christmas); I froze it and brought it with me from Oregon. I think it was successful; I particularly enjoyed making the decorations.
For the mushrooms, I made meringue with cocoa powder, glued together with melted chocolate. The holly leaves and berries are marzipan colored with food coloring and rolled out and shaped. I of course brought some to mom, but she has lost interest in food (my sister told me that mom gave it away and hid the evidence).
My younger brother, older sister, and younger sister and I all met again at mom’s for my sister’s birthday on December 28. Mom seemed very happy that everyone showed up. She was much more relaxed and peaceful for the rest of the visit.
I drove home yesterday (12/31). I was surprised at how little snow is in the mountains. There was NO roadside snow; usually there is quite a bit. I enjoyed the clear views of Mt Shasta. Shastina is in front and has only a few wisps of snow; it’s over 12,000 foot elevation. The main cinder cone of Mount Shasta is the snow covered peak at over 14,000 foot.
(Although I usually post a few family photos I did not take any this visit at mom's request. She makes a real effort to look elegant and put on makeup and jewelry, but she knows she looks very ill)
Happy New Year to all! and I hope you had a blessed and happy Christmas. I DO feel blessed to have spent time with mom AND my family, and I know that my visit helped lighten mom's days.