Joy, Life & Living, Love, Memories

life is a chorus line if you believe you can can


September 25, 2014

Dear Mom,

This is the second of two letters to honour your 86th birthday on September 27, 2014, and remind us of the important things in our lives. The first one was about swimming. This one is about dancing.

We’ve done a lot of it. Dancing I mean. Individually and together. We both love it. We are the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire of Alzheimer’s. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but what the hell it’s your 86th birthday. Being a tad “over the top” won’t kill us.  Life often feels to me like a series of random accidents from which some of us recover sometimes and some of us don’t ever. We’ve done a pretty good job of getting through the rough patches so far. More important than the fall is that we’re still up and moving, if not in body then surely in spirit. Our first documented tandem dancing adventure was in honour of your 80th birthday in 2008. I had stumbled on Matt Harding’s worldwide project and thought — you know how I’m always getting crazy ideas — hey! that’s something Mom and I could do together!

We created Patti and Susan’s dance video over the course of the summer:

We two-stepped our way through the Christmas season in 2011/2012. Here’s you and Judy’s husband John cutting the rug in their kitchen:

In February 2012 we met up with a dancing bear at a winter festival in Magog. Guess what? You made a new friend. See more by clicking on the video link of you and the dancing bear.


On August 4, 2012, we celebrated the Hermitage Club’s white-themed centennial. I hadn’t expected to be there with you, but I knew it would be your last big party and you wouldn’t have missed it for the world. So there we were at a wonderful table in a magical setting. We clowned for the camera and Bev and I discovered we had the same dress:

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You had to “go to the peeps” at one point, and on the way to the ladies room we ran into the chef. Here’s what happened:

When the music started in earnest, we got up to dance and we didn’t stop until our legs gave out.  I’ll never forget it, or at least I won’t until I do. Thanks Mom, for dancing your last dance with me.

Happy birthday ❤




September 25, 2014

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10 thoughts on “life is a chorus line if you believe you can can”

  1. Patti, I have read many of your Alzheimer’s blogs and I have cried and laughed at more than a few. What you did, and are doing, here is AMAZING. Lovely. Loving. Inspirational. ]
    PS. it made me want to dance with my daughters and …. I will. XXXXXOOO


  2. Dear Susan,

    I lost my Mom 24 years ago to colon cancer. She was only 61, and I was 36- but we were given the gift of eleven months to say good-bye. I remember thinking that I still had so much to say to her, so many things to ask- how could we ever fit it all in? In hindsight, there is really only one thing that needs saying. I love you, I love you, I love you. You and your lovely Mom are doing an amazing job of that!!! I have a couple of dear friends taking the same journey that you and your Mom are taking. Your blog helps me to help them. Thank you for sharing. Happy Birthday to the lovely Pinkie Patti, and a great big hug to you!!

    Kim Arsenian


    1. Dear Kim,

      You are so right. I told Mom I love her at least six times tonight. Sometimes it appears to sink in, other times not, but that’s OK. I know the energy of it goes back and forth between us.

      It’s hard to imagine there might be joy and blessings amidst all this pain and suffering but that surely is the case. I’m glad you had those 11 months with your Mom 24 years ago and I bet it changed your life for the better…

      Thanks for following and sharing the blog ❤

      XOX Susan


  3. Every time I watch your ‘dance video’ I get a big silly grin on my face. Keep dancing, my friend. My mom has always loved dancing too (although there’s not as much video)! Whenever I’m with her I wrap my arms around her several times a day and kiss her on the top of her head (because she’s shrunk a fair bit… at 90 it’s to be expected) and say luv ya ma! Sometimes it’s just as she’s going out the door in her purple dress and red hat!


  4. What a beautiful tribute to your Mom – I have a smile on my face ( much like your Mother’s beautiful smile ) and an uncontrollable urge to dance until I drop.
    Thanks for sharing Susan – I know you’re blessed to have your Mom – but it works both ways – she is so blessed to have you as her daughter.


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