J: Yesterday's Mother's Day pig roast was a blast! Perfect weather, tons of food and lots of very nice people. Our parents knew most of the crowd, and everyone in attendance was aware that both of them have AD. So people made special efforts to talk with them in an appropriate way and about things that would resonate with them. Our parents did a pretty good job at first, but it quickly became too much for them. I was sitting with our dad and a few others and we were all chatting about miscellaneous things. All at once my dad started in on a topic that was completely out of left field. I think perhaps he had been talking with our brother about it a few minutes earlier, but it was clear that no one in the current group had any idea what he was talking about. Everyone smiled and nodded, but I knew the gig was up.
I've heard that when people with AD are in big crowds it's like being underwater and trying to hear what someone is saying. Everything is muffled and distorted. Yesterday, my parents were in way too deep. After my dad's errant comment, I suggested that we go back to their room and regroup a bit. I put on one of my dad's favorite movies "Prelude to War" and he visibly relaxed. (There is nothing like the mellifluous sounds of Hitler and Mussolini calling their countries to war to take the tension out of the day.)
The sun was still shining and the party was raging, but our parents were done. We closed the shutters and called it a day. They did their best, but their days of big parties are over.