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By Laura Stec

Alzheimer's Stole My Christmas Dinner - A New Years Toast

Uploaded: Dec 31, 2013

We didn't eat Christmas dinner with my father last week. Oh ? he's around at 89. Still "doing anyone I can and the easy ones twice," (famous Dad quote). Dad moved into a nursing facility this year. He ate there ? we ate at home.

Everyone agreed taking him back to the house wasn't the best idea. We discussed having dinner at his place, but plans never solidified. Instead, we visited in the afternoon and opened his presents together.

It's important to note that my father is in a lovely care center - terrific environment, great staff, lots of activity. New relationships seem to be occurring between Dad and even his fellow residents. And, he is surrounded predominately by women, the way he has always liked it.

If we would have stayed for dinner, chances are he wouldn't have remembered minutes after we left. Surrounded by practical perspective, I was surprised at my reaction walking out. Overcome with emotion, I lashed out at my mother.

"I can't believe we are all just leaving ? going home to cook our fancy dinner while he eats there. It's meaningless."

"Have I done something to make you angry with me, Laura?" she responded. This comment pulled my head out of my a** with expedient grace. It was a perfect reaction really, that made me realize I can't be mad at anyone else, I was mad at me. If I felt so strongly, I should have said something. I should have done something sooner.

It's so easy to blame other people when emotion hits, isn't it? But no one in my family knows how to act or what to do; we are plowing thru this new world together. Everyone is coping in their own way, trying to figure it out. And please Laura ? give some credit. If anyone has thought long and hard about all this ? it's my mom.

Post outburst, my thoughts reside here. Is the reason I would eat there because my father would remember I was there, or is there something more? Does it matter if he knows who I am? What makes relationships important anyways? If someone doesn't remember me - does the draw of the relationship lessen? Is that person I loved and our relationship "gone?" In the end - are relationships really only about ourselves?

But now it is New Years. A Food Party filled with celebration, high heels, and drinks. Who am I to stand in the way? So to lighten the mood and honor the season, here is a new twist on the ol' bubbly.

Everyone, raise your glass in toast to all our relations!

Here's to those who remember us, and especially to those who don't.

Mom, Dad and me
Christmas Day 2013

St. Germain Fizzy
Serves 6-8

Put 1/2 cup raspberries and 2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint into a pitcher with one cup cold St. Germain liqueur. Pour in 1 bottle of Prosecco and stir.

Note: St. Germain is a sweet and unique liqueur crafted in France from elderberry flowers.