As we near Christmas day, I'm taking this opportunity to tell everyone how thankful I am for my wonderful nieces and nephews in Louisville, KY. As many of you know from my Facebook posts, my older sister (actually, my only sister) Peggy fell and shattered her ankle in late October. Since then she's been in the hospital, had extensive surgery, and then recovered in a nursing home for weeks. At one point doctors thought her leg might not be saved. Her husband John is a diabetic with numerous medical problems and had to enter the nursing home with her since no one could care for him at home.
Even their cat, Bitsy, had to relocate but found a temporary home with a friend.
Now, thanks to lots of hard work from my nephews and nieces, Peggy and John are settled into an apartment as their home is not wheelchair accessible, and she won't be able to walk for many months. My husband and I drove from Texas to Kentucky last week and have been helping, as much as possible, to get them settled into the apartment. Having familiar items, furniture, art, etc. is very important to Peggy and John. Yesterday I spent the day hanging their favorite prints so they could see them, getting my sister's greeting cards and birthday list organized, and sneaking a favorite dessert in for us to share while my brother-in-law was at a doctor's appointment for five hours with my nephew.
I would like to think that I would do the same wonderful job as John G., Laura, Bek and John T. if I had to, but I'm not sure that's true. My nieces and nephews have done a tremendous job coming together to care for Peggy and John. They've made tough decisions (the family home must be sold) and performed many little acts of kindness to make their parents more secure and comfortable. Listening to their tribulations with Medicare, Adult Protective Services, and the Veterans Administration has made me realize how difficult growing older can be. I have no idea how people could exist for long without a caring family to do the hard work, fill out all the forms, and actually become the parents when their own can't perform that role any longer. It's a sobering and amazing realization.
My hope for the holidays is that you have a wonderful time with your family, however that family is pulled together, by blood or common interests or love. Hold fast to them and pray that they will always be strong and well, or if they are not, that they will have the benefit of a loving family to surround them. Be thankful for the time you have with them, this season and always.
(This photo, me beside our little Christmas tree at our lake house in Mineola, TX while our dog looks on.)
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone.