A Birthday with no Memory

I recently threw my brother a birthday party. My brother suffers from having no short term memory. He lost part of his right frontal lobe in a car accident several decades ago and I’ve helped look after him since then.

Some how arraigning his birthday party each year has become my duty. Not a task because I enjoy bringing my brother happiness. Happiness comes easy for my brother but remembering why he is happy escapes him.

This year I doubled up on the happiness factor, where normally I would bring as many family members together where he lives or at my dads house and we have cake and pizza. This year I called on my brothers best friend from high school (before the accident) and asked him if he would have time to go see my brother with me. If I took care of all of the arraignments and thankfully he jumped at the idea.

My brother was very excited to see his friend, once he found out who he was. Sadly, he did not recognize his childhood friend at first ( 20 years Can change someone’s appearance a bit). But, once my brother heard his friend introduce himself he knew right away who he was.

We took the birthday boy over to a local BJ’s where about 25 family members (these were just some of our local peeps. We come from a huge family) sat waiting for us. My brother was so excited and received everyone’s love and gifts with open arms. You would think everything was great and my brother was right there with us mentally; until he would look at his daughter, and refer to her by our sisters name. His daughter has changed from a baby to a married woman over the years but in my brothers world she is still a baby.

Normally, I would sit by my brother during these types of events and make sure his needs are met. But, with his best friend, ex wife (who in his mind is still his wife) and his daughter all there I quickly got pushed aside. Honestly, I was fine with that as long as he was happy which he was! But, they were all a bit unpracticed eating with someone with no short term memory.

Here’s why, He ordered a coffee when he first got to the table. The next time the waiter came he ordered a Coke. After he had his coffee and Coke in front of him and he saw the waiter was helping Someone else in our party, he asked the waiter for a vanilla cream soda. His cup and glass were both full. The funny thing was, everyone was talking to everyone else, so it was kind of loud and crazy. And as soon as anyone would hear my brother ask for anything, they would ask the super confused waiter to make sure the birthday boy had what he wanted.

Ordering his lunch was much the same, the waiter started with the birthday guy again and he ordered a burger. Then his ex wife ordered a pizza and my brother says,

“that sounds good I would like a pizza”.

So, they change his order to pizza. Then my cousin orders and my uncle orders while my brother starts to organize the silverware on the table around him, totally oblivious to anything else. Then it’s mom’s turn to order and she’s sitting across from her son and she wants pasta. My brother says,

“that sounds good I want pasta!”

So, my mom tells the waiter,

“make sure he gets pasta”.

I was the last to order as I am clear at the end of a mammothly long table and I ordered a burger. Suddenly, I hear my brother say,

“I want a burger!” Looking straight at me.

The waiter says to me as I’m about to tell him to get my brother a burger,

“ma’am he has already ordered three things I don’t understand what to do”?!

He says in kind of in a frantic voice. I felt so bad I normally would tell the wait staff before anyone comes. But, we were the last to arrive so obviously he was unaware of the disability at hand.

“Oh my god! I’m so sorry. My brother has no short term memory. What was the first thing he ordered?” I asked him.

“Well first it was coffee, then Coke, then vanilla soda, then a burger, pizza, pasta and now a burger!” He squeaks a bit at the end and I try not to laugh.

“Ok” I say calmly, “please stop with the coffee, vanilla soda is fine but one at a time please and give him the bacon burger with cheddar for lunch. And don’t worry we will Pay for everything he consumes.” The waiter looked so relived.

The party continued with my dad running around the table pretending “to get” his two year old grandson. And the rest of us enjoy our individual conversations. Every time anyone would walk in or out of our private room, we would all cheer at high volumes their name. I could see that this made my brother laugh and a bit stressed out at the same time. He gets very stressed out easily as you can imagine. What would you do if suddenly you kind of wake up, not knowing where you are and all your loved ones are yelling someone’s name?. But, he handled it all very well.

When the food came we had all been moving around so much none of the wait staff knew what food belonged to what person. So, they would call it out

“who had the ribs”? And a cousin would raise his hand.

“Pasta and shrimp” mom raised her hand and so forth.

Every single order, my brother would answer before the person who actually ordered it,

“that’s my pizza!”

“that’s my club sandwich”!

“that’s my pasta and shrimp” (he can’t even eat shrimp).

The waiters leaving the food placed three different plates in front of my brother. As soon as I could, I would grab the plate and turn to hand it off to whom ever actually ordered it. And the wait staff would be placing another meal in front of my brother. Wouldn’t you know his and my burgers were the last to arrive. So, he sat there looking like a punished child Not knowing why everyone else gets to eat but him. Because he didn’t know if he had ordered anything.

Everyone seemed to have a great time. We had laughter and tears and my two year old nephew went home with a black eye from running into the corner or a table. My brother…

When his friend from school, my brother and I were leaving, we drove past BJ’s to get to the Hwy and my brother turned to me and asked,

“LoLa, have you ever eaten at Bj’s? I never have. I want to eat there some day”.

Like that the party was gone.

“Hey Dott” (that’s my nicname for my bro) ” look in the backseat and tell me who you see”? I told him.

He looked behind us confused and sees his childhood best friend sitting behind me and yells, “HEY JOHN!!! Hey man! I didn’t even know you were there! What are you doing here man? Hey you guys… can we go get something to eat”?….

Happy Birthday Dott I love you


Coloring Project – The Frog


2010 Summer Reading List

Sookie Stackhouse, the complete stories A touch of Dead
Finger Prints & Facelifts
His First Wife, Gracce Octavia
The promise of happiness, Justin Cratwright
Silk & Shadows
The Honey Thief
The marriage
Ya ya Sisterhood book # 3
The Other Boleyn Girl
Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher
3 book flower series by Nora Roberts
The Kept woman
Twlight book # 4
twlight book #3

Coloring Project – The Swan