Your Parent Forgets Your Birthday

You didn’t expect your parent to show up on your birthday with a gift and a card.

After all, you sometimes wear a name tag so they remember your name. And yet, the first time your elderly parent

parent with dementia forgets birthday :(forgets your birthday, well, it can be painful. It amplifies the loss happening right in front of you and is a very personal reminder of the new relationship with your parent. For many people, this strikes a painful chord.

To support you in this, here are 5 ideas to help you weather the next forgotten birthday.

  1. Expect your senior to forget and mourn the loss that represents, but don’t stay in that sad place too long.
  2. Print the letter below, put it in an envelope and give it to yourself—from your parent. 
  3. Gather all the memories of times your birthday wasn’t forgotten and take time to savor those memories. Maybe take a few minutes and write them down. 
  4. Put an extra candle on your dessert, from your parent.
  5. Remember that you are loved, today, tomorrow and yesterday. 

Celebrate YOU by sending yourself this card!

The Unsent Birthday Card. . . From Your Parent

You transformed my life with your birth. Hidden in the recesses of my mind, I know it’s the anniversary of your birthday. Somewhere in my mind, I remember your birthday parties, your smiles, your fingers in frosting, the brightly colored cards, your gifts, the yellow crepe streamers, the balloons bouncing, the flickering candles. My love for you was on full display in the way we celebrated your birthday. 

Today is the same as two yesterdays ago or two days from now—I don’t know. I count on you to know what day it is. I want to celebrate this birthday for you, but I don’t know where the candles are. So will you find them for me? Will you put an extra candle on—from me to you? (You should probably light it for me too since people get nervous when I have the matches.) And then, when your wish-breath blows the candle out, know that in that hidden place in my mind, my love for you is on full display.

Happy Birthday!

May you find joy in loving one another well today and tomorrow and tomorrow. 

Elizabeth Dameron-Drew is the Co-founder and President of Ways & Wane. She walked closely with her own father through his years of waning. She lives near Seattle with her two teenage sons, husband and two rescue dogs. When she’s not working on this platform she’s probably creating books, doing research work or planning a dinner party while listening to the rain and thinking about her next creative endeavor.