For months she talked about having a family reunion. At first, it was odd to hear her say that - she had always been uncomfortable in social situations - the more people, the greater the discomfort. But we'd talk about it anyway, usually in the afternoon while we waited for Dad to return home from his day away. Her ideas were vivid - "we'll use the city park across the street, so the little kids can play, or swim, or run". "There will be something for everyone. We'll have food, and games".
My sister and I started planning, while our other mom kept talking about the reunion. It was a new conversation each week. That's how it is with memory loss.
We set a date in July and my sister went full throttle with a potluck sign up list, ordering catered sandwiches, coordinating details for games, chairs, tables.
The reunion came together mid-July. Everyone arrived from somewhere out-of-town. Everyone was there: 5 siblings, 8 grandkids, Dad, Mom. Everyone brought something. Everyone played games. There was a rented boat. It was perfect.
A few weeks before, my sister and I wondered if this was maybe a bad idea. Things were unraveling for her. Moods were accelerating. And she stopped talking about the reunion. A week before, when I reminded her the reunion was coming up, she was confused. I told her we were inspired by her ideas. That was really confusing.
But truly, the day was perfect. She was happy. Dad was happy. It was perfect. I'm glad we didn't back out, even when that seemed like the right thing to do. Everyone got something really personally gratifying from the day.
It was a success...