Tag Archives: forgetfulness

Lessons in Grace with Great Aunt (part 7)

14 Jun

 Polyester Pant Suits

 It had been some time since Great Aunt had lived in her own home. She moved to an apartment with assisted living, then to the nursing home, and finally in with our family of, at the time, 8 children.  Her once lively lifestyle had become more and more confined with each move.  Even so, a variety of remnants from her past remained, and we desired to provide as much life and vitality as we were able.

 In previous years, Great Aunt had enjoyed  hosting card parties with her lady friends.  Wanting to encourage those friendships, we had decided to help her host a party in her new place.  She was no longer able to see a cooking project all the way through, but she did enjoy getting her hands into the mix of things.   It was our hope that by having her friends come,  Great Aunt might gain a sense of belonging. This was her home.

One of the remnants of Great Aunt’s past was her wardrobe.  She loved bright vibrant colors and bold gaudy jewelry.  With this in mind, you can imagine the process of getting dressed for a party!  Her favorite selections included various  pant suits that were in shades of lime green, bright orange, and brilliant purples .  The fabric of choice was consistently, the ever-wearing, polyester.  It truly  never did wear out!   She no longer was confined to the typical rules of a matching an outfit. She had found complete freedom to mix and match.  The brighter the colors, the better she liked it! Hair done, lipstick on, she was good to go.

I think I was more excited about this event than Great Aunt.  I enjoyed planning ways to make it special for her and generating her participation.  She genuinely liked the ideas and was ready to greet the ladies as they arrived.  Tea and dessert were served.  Cards were played.  The visit was a success.  Having heard Great Aunt speak of these special people, I was thankful to have met them. They were faithful friends showing both their love and concern.

Pictures played an important role during this period of time.  With every event, we captured memories in print.  As time progressed, it often became her only memory of us.  The past became increasingly present in her mind, and recognition of who we were faded in and out. We used her photo album as a tool to try to keep her remembering the recent past. Today, I am thankful we did, as they now have become precious memories for our family.

As I helped Great Aunt get ready for bed, I cheerfully tried to engage her in recounting the happenings of the day.  It was gone.  All memory of her friends and the visit had faded away.  To try to persuade her otherwise was an insult to her intellect.

Was it a waste, I wondered?  Had I gone to all that work in vain? No… I knew the answer had to be no.  Great Aunt lived that day.  Embracing her friends, she loved  and served them.  Equally importantly, those ladies embraced their friend one last time.  Yes, it had been worth it all.