"I've quit hula dance!" Okaasan announced yesterday.
You did what? When? Why?
I'd popped into her room to borrow back the hairdryer. Okaasan was sitting sewing one of her hula dance skirts. I guessed getting it ready for the hula dance performance event this coming weekend.
"Ahh, are you preparing for the event?"
"The event? No, I quit hula, so I'm unpicking the skirt. I don't need it anymore."
Stunned. That was Yujiro and I.
Standing there at the entrance to Okaasan's room with this news hanging there.
You did what?
I did yesterday. I told you!
No, you said nothing to us. Or the hula teacher. Or Ohta-san.
I didn't? I told someone. Maybe I dreamed it? I told someone. I quit, didn't I?
I can't do it, it's too fast. My body can't do it. I can't......
And then Okaasan cried.
It was so sad. She was sobbing like a child. I backed out of the living room to the kitchen so that Yujiro could comfort her, lots of reassuring words....but she cried....
I can't do it, it's too hard, I dont want to go, I'm at the front of the stage, I can't do it, I don't have my dance accessories, it's hard, it's fast, I can't remember the steps....
Yujiro calmed her down after a few minutes.
He reassured her. He reminded her that HE had all the accessories bag for safekeeping. He said she could quit if she really wanted to, but not to worry about keeping up with the others etc, that the teacher and classmates wanted her to dance with them, that she CAN do it, etc etc.
It was like a parent comforting a child - but here was the son comforting the mother.
Poor Okaasan. It was so sad. I felt for her so much. We all know that feeling: when you know you can't do something. But you will have to do it, in front of people, as part of a group.
Hobbies in Japan are taken very seriously. This hula dance class in a hobbygroup at a culture school run by the local newspaper. Just ladies who like hula dance getting together. But they have these performance events with other groups in front of family members. And THESE events are so important - they practice, practice...there is a whole list of Stuff That Needs Doing, preparations, rehearsals....and Ohta-san told Yujiro that Okaasan has had a hard time with the new routine her group has been learning. Learning new things is so hard.
What should we do?
Let Okaasan quit?
Sounds the best thing to do.
But it isn't that simple.
By next week this feeling of panic has probably passed. Then Okaasan will want to go to the class again.
Or let her drop out of the event this coming Sunday?
Then Sunday morning she'll want to go? Or at the class on Monday when they are all talking about it, she'll wonder why SHE didn't go again...and get the whole "They don't like me, so they didn't tell me about the event" scenario.
Dementia means Okaasan won't remember her own decision. Or conversations.
This panic about the event on Sunday leads naturally to "I want to quit" feeling - but that feeling and decision isn't fixed.
In fact, after this meltdown yesterday morning at 10.30 am...we left Okaasan sewing the dance skirt BACK together. By 11.30 am she was fine again.
We ate lunch 3 of us together. Chatted. Then we took her kotatsu blanket out for drycleaning and even got Okaasan to vacumn her room! (asked me 8 times in 30 minutes how to operate the vacumn cleaner and 5 times: "Am I going somewhere today?"). And bundle up old newspapers, She cleaned her room! Did laundry! Watched TV! Went for a walk! Came home on time! Ate dinner happily.
All smiles again.
It's the curse of the hula dance.
What will happen this weekend?
There is an event on Sunday afternoon. There is a rehearsal on Saturday. It's my Oyome-san job to get Okaasan ready for these two outtings, take her there and hand her over to Ohta-san.
After that I think I'll need a good rest.
Ahh! Two weeks in hospital? That will do nicely!