As little girls, others played with their Barbie dolls. Instead, I created my index cards of historical and Biblical events. I love history; history of words and history of events. So I guess it is only natural that I devoted about 10 years of my life to Family History.
So, for me the Holiday Season is very wrapped up in Family memories, context in ancient scriptures, AND Family History. My holiday season begins with ThanksGiving, and stretches thru to the twelfth night of Christmas, January 6. So, while many of my friends have removed their holiday decorations by now, for me this is the middle of the Chanukkah/Christmas season.
This year’s changes in Holiday celebration.
- Eight years ago, I began worship in the Jewish “Reconstructionist” tradition (but, for me including quite a few beliefs from Messianic, Chabad, and mystic Kabbalah). I remember that I have a theological reason, but when I ask why I quit having a tree, I forget the answer within a few minutes. I really enjoy the colored lights, ornaments, and tinsel, so with my extra tummy pain and fatigue from Lyme treatment this year, decided I would now resume the tradition of a tree. This is my first Christmas Tree in almost 10 years (a German tradition, so it is in honor of my German paternal grandmother, Florence Michaelis). Since she used a plastic tree in later years, my grandmother often kept her Christmas decorations up until Candlemas on February 2, which was not surprising given both her parents were from Germany. Then she sometimes switched ornaments and tree was full of Valentines for February. One year, the first day of March she replaced the Valentines with stuffed birds set inside nests she found prior years, and put her tree away the end of April, LOL. I especially enjoy the memory from the one year my workaholic father was home for decorating the tree. That year I was 11 years old, shortly before his cancer diagnosis, and he was too sick to work. We sang Carols as he lay on the couch, looking in the eyes of each one of us individually as he handed us each ornament. … So a decorated tree stands large in my emotional context of family memories, and I decided to resume it despite my theological “reasons” for quitting the tradition. This year, our tree ornaments will be removed and the tree will be taken to the porch for eventual re-potting … on the 12th day of Christmas; January 6.
- I am trying to find holiday songs in a form I can still enjoy despite dementia symptom of sound distortion – so looking for either solo instrumentals, or acapella voice.
- Since our children have become adults, we mostly quit giving holiday gifts – except for our young grandsons. But this year, during weekly Family Chat with Harry’s dementia Forget-Me-Not group, husband gave me a gift; a mini HAPI pentatonic drum. This has vibrating tongues of steel creating notes of sound, arranged so that each note is surrounded only by notes that are musically compatible with that individual note. The tone is similar to singing bowls or musical bells; another soothing pentatonic instrument to go with my lap harp.
- As my dementia symptoms have progressed, so has my intolerance for noise and bodies around me. So, while a few years ago I could enjoy longer visits from loved ones, this year I discovered need to have visits limited to less than one hour, and fewer people. Must make restriction despite mutual enjoyment of spending time together, otherwise consequences are too great. I expect that time restriction will continue to increase as my symptoms progress.
Last year’s Holiday update: https://truthfulkindness.com/2015/12/15/spiritual-journey-dementia-symptoms/
OTHER by PWD:
Laurie Scherrer: https://dementiadaze.com/2016/11/29/dementia-christmas-tree-analogy/
Kathleen Anduze: https://vimeo.com/193966991
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