I have had the best afternoon, and I came home from San Rafael on a real high. I also came home again wishing I knew more about the process of dementia.
After how vague she was yesterday, and how she was at first today, I wasn't sure how this was all going to go. I called her 30 minutes before I was going to pick her up, to be sure that she was up and dressed. She was, but didn't remember about lunch at all, and was delighted that we had this lunch date with her old friends.
I picked her up at 10 and when she got in the car, she asked where we were going. I told her San Rafael. She asked if it was just going to be the two of us for lunch, I told her that her friends were coming. She was thrilled and said that she wished she had known and she would have gotten dressed up more. Sigh.
On the hour and a half ride down to San Rafael, I tried to talk about things I thought would interest her, but she only wanted to talk about three things: how pretty the trees were; how dead the grass on the hills was and how we needed rain so they could be green again; and how they needed to plant stuff in the harvested fields. Occasionally she would ask where we were going and who was going to be there, but mostly I realized that the only thing that really interests her is nature--not animals or birds, but growing things.
We were the first to arrive at the restaurant and sat waiting for the others. Four of the five expected showed up (Jeff, the last one to arrive, didn't come for about half an hour because he'd been stuck in a meeting). It was like a lightbulb switched on. She was excited, happy, bubbly. The sparkle was back in her eyes. Not only that but they talked about mutual acquaintances that she remembered. (I have seen her say "yeah" to questions asked when she has no idea what the person is talking about, but in this instance not only did she remember the people, but also remembered personality characteristics about them.)
Everybody but me ordered a drink (my mother had two) and a toast was made for her 95th birthday.
We ordered lunch and, on Cinni's recommendation, I had their lamb salad, which was fabulous.
My mother didn't order a cup of soup, like she does every day, but actually linguine with clams, which she ate almost all of!
Paula kept everybody laughing by telling jokes.
Jeff finally arrived and everyone had a good time visiting with him.
He and my mother have always had a very special relationship and it is obvious how much the two of them like each other.
The restaurant brought her a bowl of ice cream with a candle in it.
At the end of the lunch, the women told us they were treating us to the meal because it was my mother's birthday and because I had brought her down. It was very sweet of them to do that, and I had to take a picture of the group (minus Jeff, who had to get back to work).
There were hugs all around and I told them that whenever they wanted to include her in their lunch dates, just e-mail me and I'll be happy to bring her down. Heck, to watch her be so "normal" for a brief time was worth the 3 hour drive.
When we got in the car, I said something about how nice it was that the women had treated us. "Who treated us? to what?" she asked and then for the rest of the drive, she discussed the trees, the dead grass on the hills, and the barren fields.
That's why I wish I knew more about dementia...how she can turn it on and then lose it so quickly. But I am still on a high, remembering how happy she was and how much fun she had visiting with her friends. It was nice seeing my mother again.