mom and her bff gaby sing happy birthday o canada

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July 1, 2014: Mom and I roll outside to sit with Gaby for half an hour before supper. Mom is able to stand and walk today so I help her from her wheelchair to the “deck” chair beside her friend.

“Oh Patti! Look at you!” Gaby is her usual supportive and enthusiastic self. “Look at your beautiful hair. Did you have it done today?” Mom touches her hair, looks at me. I nod my head.

“I had it done today. Is it nice?” She runs her fingers through it, checking again for herself.

Oh yes! And isn’t that a pretty pink top? And the detail on the bottom of your pants – it’s very chic.” Gaby has something good to say about mostly everything and everyone. She notices things like the detailing on the pants; she worked as a clerk in a women’s fashion boutique decades ago. The white capris Mom has on are new. I bought them last week at The Bay, on sale. I also got a lavender pair, and a sky blue pair, as well as three matching tops. We can mix and match. “When you look good, you feel good,” Mom always used to say to me. Those kind of things still apply when you live with dementia.

“I love my Patti,” Gaby says to heaven. We sit and rock and talk about nothing, watch the traffic go up the hill beside The Home.

“That’s a big truck eh Mom?”

“She erased it. I, I, I…” Alphabet soup from Mom.

“Leblanc Farm.” Gaby reads the branding on the side of the rig in the few seconds it takes for it to go by. “That must be a big farm.”  She’s as sharp as a tack.

It’s a scorcher of day. There are tornado warnings for southern Ontario, a nine-hour drive from where we sit in relative safety in southeastern Quebec.

“I wonder if we’ll be hit with the tail end of a storm?” I muse.

“Oh dear.” Mom worries. Gaby holds Mom’s left hand in hers. Mom rat-a-ta-tats the top of Gaby’s right hand with her right one. It’s a sign of affection. She loves her Gaby as much as Gaby loves her, but she doesn’t say so in so many words. Instead, she gives her love taps on her hand. Gaby knows they’re love taps; others don’t. That’s part of the reason why Mom is medicated with antipsychotics. For giving people misunderstood love taps.

I take some pictures. We sing O Canada. We love our country and each other. July 1, 2014: a good day.

Seven weeks after I filmed this video, our friend and angel Gabrielle went home on August 20, 2014, after she fell (maybe because of the Risperdal she was being given), and broke her foot. Gaby’s goal had been to make it to 100; she was close. Mom joined her two years later on August 17, 2016, after she too fell, and broke her arm.
I hope the two of them are raising Cain wherever they are.

2 Comments

  1. Nicky Bright on

    I feel such an affinity with you ladies; yes, your Mom and Gaby too…

    Mum left on the 13th August 2016, just 12 days short of her 80th birthday.
    The birthday I had spoken of for a year with much anticipation and planning as I was determined we would see that day together…

    Sadly, it wasn’t to be… And, in hindsite I wonder if the greatest gift to my mother was releasing her from the confines of that bed in the facility where she spent the last 5 years of her life…

    Mum was restrained physically and chemically sedated for using her voice too… And when the words failed her and she had to use her hands… Well, you know the rest of that story…

    May God Bless our mothers xx
    And may he bless friends like Gaby who could read the language of love and ever so graciously reciprocate it xx

    • It’s a small world Nicky, even when we are on either sides of it. Our moms left this place within days of each other…

      Re: “Mum was restrained physically and chemically sedated for using her voice too… And when the words failed her and she had to use her hands… Well, you know the rest of that story…” yes, I know all about that story, and I’m bound and determined to change it for others.

      Re: “And may he bless friends like Gaby who could read the language of love and ever so graciously reciprocate it.” – I have no doubt whatsoever that Gaby was an angel on earth, sent here in part to help Mom and me. Her love and compassion was an inspiration to me. I hope she and Mom are holding hands forever.

      Thanks for your comment the likes of which keep me going <3

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