Monday, November 17, 2008

Making a Different Kind of Thanksgiving Memory

I love the thoughts of the perfect Thanksgiving holiday. All the family gathered around the table sharing the latest news, enjoying one another's company and also enjoying that delicious turkey dinner.

I remember well the days when my sons, Michael & Jeremy and I would get up early to feed the turkey. We had to keep him well fed so that he would be nice and plump for Thanksgiving. He he . . .

Now, I really do remember when my dear boys made these clothespin dolls - an Indian and a Pilgrim and also a snazzy canoe. They were in elementary school then. My how time flys ~ little boys turn into deep voiced men, family members move away, grandfathers go to heaven, times and situations change.

And sometimes, no matter how hard it is, we have to change with the times. I am getting a first hand education in that fact this year whether I like it or not. Two months ago when I moved my Mom here I tried to face things with a positive approach. We fixed up her assisted living apartment as nice as we could. The idea was to make it feel like home to her. We had many shopping trips trying to find a sofa for her that would complement the oil paintings that she so loved.

We painted her bedroom pink - her favorite color.

We scavenged thrift shops, my attic, Ross, TJ Maxx and anywhere else we could think of to make her little kitchenette feel warm and cozy for an elderly lady. We even came up with a theme - "Grandma's Garden". In her better days she loved to garden and always had beautiful flowers gracing her yard.

On moving day my sweet brother came from California and my 2 sons came home from college to help Grandma move in and feel happy in her new home. Once the work was done we all went out to dinner. It was a happy time to have this much of our family together as it doesn't happen often since we are so spread out around the country.
I had high hopes that I could organize a happy family Thanksgiving or Christmas while Mom still remembers us. However, as time goes on I don't see that happening. Since being here my Mom was hospitalized for an inter cranial bleed and then moved to a skilled nursing facility. Last week I received a call saying they will be done giving her therapy on November 24th and where will she be living after that? I could scarcely believe it as I haven't noticed any change in her since she has been there. There is no way she can still live in her assisted living apartment. So, this past weekend was spent looking into the assisted living where she is currently (depressing to say the least) and the Memory Care unit at her previous assisted living facility. To make a long story short we are planning to move her to Memory Care a couple days before Thanksgiving. I'm not sure what Thanksgiving day will hold and I can't even go there now. One day at a time is the modus operandi now. I am quite sure it won't be that Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, but one thing I do know is that I don't know how many more days my Mom will be with us or remember who we are. . . I do, however, know that today she knows who I am and I will rejoice in that. I will do everything that I am able to make her life the best it can be under the circumstances and know that LOVE is the answer. And I know that no matter what happens I will always love her. I wish I could cure Alzheimer's . . . I know I can't . . . but I can extend my love and appreciation to her and even in her confused state I know she feels the love.
These past few months have been emotional beyond belief. I have always been close to my Mom and it is hard to see her go through this. However, I have grown so much through this experience. I have seen another side of the cycle of life and for that I feel richly blessed. Without trying to sound preachy, I would encourage any of you that have a loved one in a nursing home, assisted living, hospital, etc. to visit them, call them or send a card to them. Before this chapter of my life I thought nursing homes were downright scary. I still find them a bit scary, but I see now that any of us could end up there and we are still human beings who would welcome a loving gesture from one of our friends or family members. Even though most of the time my Mom is confused she always kisses me goodbye and thanks me for visiting her.
I know that this post isn't the inspiring post we would like to read before the Thanksgiving holiday. For that - I'm sorry. It's just that I now know that even though we would like to strive for that perfect holiday, life may have other plans for us. The important thing is that we try to adapt to what life has in store for us. Next year things will probably be completely different.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Nod to November

~ November ~
What a beautiful start we have had to this month. The weather has been glorious - sunny blue skies with warm daytime temperatures and cool, crisp nights. It seems this has been a good year for the color change. Every time I am out and about I am blown away by the gorgeous shades of red, orange, yellow and russet on the trees.

This sugar maple is near the top of my driveway. I have been waiting patiently for it to start changing colors. It is finally beginning to put on it's autumn finery. I look forward to seeing it change completely.

We have to enjoy this fabulous show before it's too late.

Soon we will be too busy planning turkey dinners and we all know that is just the start of the truly busy time of the year.

The other day I stopped at the Good Will and found this book about Thanksgiving.

It's really old.

And full of cute little Thanksgiving facts and stories.

It looks like the kind of book that would best be enjoyed snuggled under a warm blanket while sipping a cup of tea, spiced cider or hot cocoa. Maybe even a big rainstorm outside would be nice.

We haven't even made plans for Thanksgiving yet . . . for now, I can read and dream.

Is there a better smelling candle for this time of year?
Thanks so much for all of your comments on my guest room post. My sister and I had a nice visit. We spent a lot of time with my Mom and still found time for some shopping, walks, talks & lunches out.