When my mom died in August of 2012 my parents were just one month shy of their fifty-second wedding anniversary. The winter before moms death my parents got remarried because Mom did not remember ever having married my dad. This wedding occurred while she was in rehab at the Episcopal Church Home nursing home rehabbing from a recent hospital stay due to congestive heart failure.
I cannot praise the Episcopal Church Home enough for the love and care they give their memory patients. I learned that they keep a small stock of wedding gowns (and probably tuxedos too) for occasions such as this to help maintain happiness and dignity for their memory patients.
I was told by Aunt Margaret on that particular evening she had gone to visit mom in the nursing home. Margaret happened to come in just as the nursing staff was getting Mom fitted for a wedding gown. Mom was not aware that she had married my dad over 50 years ago. Margaret and the staff at the Episcopal Church Home all chipped in to give Mom her "proper" wedding; a nice gentleman nurse gave Mom away to Dad, the nursing home Pastor married Mom and Dad and then my parents had their first dance as a "newly" married couple.
I have a very hard time looking at these pictures because, to me, they really signify what dementia had stolen from my mom. Mom does not look well in these pictures but she does look happy. That will have to be enough for me knowing that in that exact moment, she was probably happier than she had been in recent years since her dementia diagnosis. And THAT happiness is what was most important.
Still, I hate what dementia took from my mom, my parents, my sister and me. I hate that my children never knew my mother for the wonderful, fun person, grandmother she was before dementia. I can only tell them but I wish they could have truly known for themselves.