This blog post is to say thanks.
Thanks to all of you, dear readers, who pulled out all the stops, to not only read my Special Birthday blog, but left so many loving comments, emails and cards. Mom and I are both grateful and we extend our sincere thanks for all your good wishes.
Her Continental Zoom Birthday Tour lasted 11 hours. Yikes. I was exhausted but my Mother was going strong. It was an extraordinary birthday and as she commented, “it was worth living 100 years just to celebrate my birthday in such a unique way.” It was warm and beautiful and as her birthday guests logged on, they dressed for the celebration. They brought cakes with candles so she could make a wish. One of the family members would blow them out, on her behalf. Everyone had a story. And it was so warm and welcoming on this tour that at one point it seemed real not virtual.
One example was when my Mother took a 20 min catnap in the afternoon and the guests continued to visit. Mom’s phone started ringing and finally she answered. She returned to her I-pad, and laughingly told us how she wondered why none of us got up to answer her phone. Anticipating a Birthday by herself, and grateful that she would get to talk to her extended family on Zoom she was astonished. For the entire day she did not feel alone. She connected to each person and it seemed as if they were there. “It was the best Birthday in 100 years.”
I am so grateful to the people who founded and continue to run Zoom. I know the problems they are having with security vulnerabilities and there were several things we did to mitigate the risk. To have this platform for our use at this time is beyond amazing. It allows us to still be connected while being apart. And we all need that. What has come out of this will be standing weekly gatherings, where we can drop in and have a visit with Mom and other family members. We will keep this ball rolling, modestly, to laugh, tell tall tales, and cheer one another on.
A shout out to the fabulous crew of family and friends who wholeheartedly dove in to embrace this challenge and give our Mother the best birthday yet. Sheila and Jim, you are amazing for taking on the beautiful calendar; I pad set up; and the 100th birthday cake that Jim made with love and delivered to Mom. (Thanks to the concierge at Nanaimo Seniors Village.)
Rob, you have been our tech guru, getting everyone up and running and solving numerous problems. And your virtual walks with Grandma through the beautiful streets and parks of Vancouver, all done thanks to google duo.
To my beautiful sister Gabriole and friends who organized the parade of decorated cars to drive under Mom’s balcony with 100 balloons, signs, noise makers and song. It was truly an extraordinary day. It is amazing what love and effort can do even during a pandemic.
And finally, Diane, the Activity Director who came in to spend a couple of hours with Mom, on her day off, because she didn’t want her to be alone all day on her Birthday. And because “I love your Mother” she said. The kindness and caring that money can’t buy.
So, we have come to the end of this story and I want to encourage anyone suffering from the disappointments that Covid-19 has wrought to consider Option B. Bring your whole heart and creative spirit to what is possible and be open for surprise.
My friend Gregg Krech, director of the ToDo Institute in Vermont, wrote a short article about Option B and used this occasion as an example. It is well written and interesting. I think you will enjoy it and you can read it here. Option B
See you next week dear readers. I am humbled by your kindness. I am now your chief zoom buddy and anyone who wants to learn how to use it please email me and I will happily show you the ropes. You already know that if a 100-year-old can learn, age is not an excuse. And, to quote my Mother one last time, during her birthday week, “since this is the way it is now, Zoom can change your life at a time like this. I no longer feel alone.”
These photo collages are three pages from the birthday calendar created for Mother and the family by Sheila and Jim.