Alzheimer's, Christmas, family, home, Nova Scotia, time, traditions
Our Christmas home in Nova Scotia felt sort of… final, to me, this year.
We plan to spend next Christmas here in BC because it is expensive to travel during the holidays, and it makes a stressful time just that much more stressful. Our next trip to Nova Scotia will probably be during the summer when more people will be free to get together with us, and travel is safer and cheaper.
Although the snow was certainly a thrilling novelty to Owl.
My father’s Alzheimer’s is slowly progressing. He still knows who everyone is, and what is going on, but he is frail, and quiet, and easily confused. My mother has to help him shower, get dressed, and she puts him down to bed for naps and at bed time like a child.
But he’s still Dad.
If and when we spend another Christmas in Nova Scotia, the person that I know as my father may have faded away entirely.
Christmas was always a big deal in our house. Both my parents love Christmas, and we used to have all sorts of traditions built up around it. The annual tree decorating was so idyllic that my high school friends used to attend it too, because it was just such a Christmassy THING.
But many of the traditions have fallen by the wayside one by one what with my commitments to Perfect Husband’s family, and my father’s illness, and the fact simply that time is moving on and things change.
We did still decorate the tree this year. Mum needed PH to help bring the tree in and get it set up. The last time we were home, Dad could still do that. He still sat and watched us decorate while he sipped egg nog, but once upon a time he would have been the one pouring the drinks and sloshing too much rum into everyone’s nog.
The decorators this year were mostly Mum and Owl, with me alternately helping, taking photos, and watching the baby. It was the same, but not the same, at the same time.
If that makes sense.
Meanwhile, the Christmas Eve traditions on PH’s side of the family are going to be changing soon, too. Their Christmas Eve family gathering had the same food, the same schedule, but less exuberance. My nieces and nephews are older now. The next youngest to Owl is already ten years old, and most of them are young adults in university and beyond.
Our kids were definitely the hit of the show.
We got a family photo of all of the “kids”, including Fritter, on the front steps. We don’t know when another group photo will be able to be taken as the grown “kids” start moving away and living their own lives.
I’m really glad we made it home this Christmas, because I felt like I was getting a chance to say goodbye to these old traditions and accept that things are changing.
Owl got to experience and explore these “old times”, and I got to make my peace with their passing.
And these changes don’t have to feel bad. But they will be different.
Maybe that is okay. Maybe it is time for us to build our own traditions, here, at home.