I struggled mightily this year about bringing my husband from the care facility to our home for the holiday afternoon as we had such a pleasant visit the day before when we sat with him for an hour in the afternoon and ate at the Village Inn. He did not appear agitated and was so glad to see both me and my son Steve. The decision was reached on the basis of stress, both his and mine. What would Bob do when the guys were watching football? What would he do while I was cooking and serving? How would he relate to guests, to being in the house? Would he want to return home during dinner?
Bob’s comfort level these days depends a lot on constant individual attention to his needs. Could I provide that attention at a dinner party? I would have changed his routine and added stress to Bob’s day and to mine, so he ate turkey dinner with his staff and we visited the day after. He didn’t know but I heard the care facility went out of its way to provide an ample and delicious festive meal.
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner felt satisfying from the menu design to the bright red flowering amaryllis I placed as the centerpiece on the table. Permitting three friends plus my family to bring side dishes help serve and clean made for a stress-free meal. I served coffee in my mother’s fragile china cups, used my husband’s annotated recipes and made his Famous Thanksgiving Jell-O mold which keeps him in our hearts. I am grateful for and thoroughly enjoy the family and friends I am privileged to have with me without feeling devastated by the sadness of the losses each new separation brings.