Wednesday, November 9, 2011


            This is my family enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Words from a hymn written in the 1500's, still familiar to most Christians today, one of my Mom's favorites.

Just wandering around the main dining hall where 75 resident's eat their dinner. I'm looking for a stack of warm ( fresh from the dryer) striped towel bibs. Why? I don't really work here but I help out when I can. I hear little scratchy voices that ask politely, "Ann, Can you help me with this?" Even though these bibs are easy to just lap around your neck, it's a struggle for elderly people like Mom, especially if they have only one workable hand. Then from another table I hear, "Ann, can you help me open this?" Even when they do have workable hands, getting their stiff little aged fingers to open a small container of yogurt or a bag of saltine crackers is a frustrating time consuming experience.  Spoons, forks and napkins often flip off the table accidentally and fall to the floor which usually requires getting a new clean one unless you believe in the 3 second rule. By the time I hear "Ann?" that rule does not apply anyway.

Elderly people are generally impatient, they want what they want now and they don't like to wait.  In fact, when you can't do anything for yourself, that's what you do every waking moment. You wait for someone to help you, you wait for someone to bathe you, you wait for someone to come and take you to the bathroom, you wait for someone to bring your dinner and then you wait for someone to tie your bib. "Ann, my bib fell down, can you help me?"

A nice pleasant looking woman calls me over to her table and looks me in the eye. I haven't met her before but I have smiled at her from across the room. She's not a person who needs much help, so I wonder what she wants. "Ann, I've seen you here every day, helping your mother and I just want you to know that we all look forward  to seeing your smiling face and we look forward to spotting what interesting outfit , hat or shoes you wore to work today. It's just a nice break from seeing scrubs on everyone else. I want you to know that not only your Mom is blessed by you being here. We are all blessed by you being here." In just that moment, my eyes overflow with tears. "Thank you" I answer in sort of a quiet blubber and head back to my seat. 

Fred, who sits next to Mom at dinner sees me and asks, "What happened?" My tears give me away. "Oh that lady over there said she appreciated me being here to see mom and it made me cry." Another table mate, Helen chimes in, " My daughter says she comes because I helped her when she was a baby and now it's her turn. She owes me!"  Seeing my mother nod in agreement with Helen, I add " My mother not only raised me but ended up helping me raise two baby boys when I got divorced!"

"OH! Then you owe double time, big time!" Fred declares with a giggle.

 (Your family and friends aren't perfect. Sometimes, God blesses you in mysterious ways.)

Thanks giving is about remembering all the good things your family and friends do for you!  All those things they have done, put up with and continually do to bless you. Be thankful for the people and situations God has blessed you with. Count your blessings.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Happy Thanksgiving ! Love Mom and me.

1 comment:

Barbara Ellington said...

Hi Ann -
Thanks for sharing this - as always. I often teased the aides in the dining room saying "I'm here enough so put me to work!" I totally understood about the bibs!

My Mom is holding on by a thread now. She doesn't know us anymore, doesn't talk, just stares out of half-closed eyes. Barely eats or drinks. I don't think it will be long now. I'll come by one of these nights to see you. I often see Nancy and say "hello."
Barbara E.