During November, I was doing the 30 Days of Giving Thanks challenge. Thanksgiving weekend and the last week of November I dropped the ball. I didn't write any thank you letters...and I didn't make a point of going out of my way to look for and/or recognize things of which I should be thankful.
The entire weekend was challenging - from getting a call on Friday evening saying that a nurse had given my Dad the wrong medications at the nursing home (six pills total - including two for cardiac issues) to finding out on Monday that my Dad has less than six months to live and would be going under hospice care.
So, I'm now just finishing this challenge...albeit a few days late. The final five people I'm thanking by sending them letters include:
- Gary and Joanne. They use to be parishioners at the church where my Dad was a Deacon. When my Dad began going to adult day care because of Alzheimer's Disease, Gary was one of the bus drivers. He would talk with my Dad, make sure he was safely transported to the program, and brought back home in the afternoon.
Gary and Joanne visited my Dad in October before he was hospitalized for 11 days. My Dad enjoyed talking with them, and having visitors that day. I took a couple of pictures of both of them with my Dad, and sent them a thank you letter with the photographs. It helps to know that my Dad is receiving visitors and that people still are thinking about him.
- My Mom. I thanked her for a recent gift she gave to me as well as taking Sophia, Olivia, and I out to eat many times when we bring her to see my Dad at the nursing home. The girls are always so excited because we don't normally go out to eat - so it's a special time for them.
I also thought that as I'm making and freezing meals over the past few days for her to use during December; as I made the Thanksgiving meal; and as I sewed the Minnesota state quilt during November...that I think of all the gifts and skills she's given to me throughout the years.
She's inspired a love for cooking and baking; sewing and quilting; and modeled service and giving of oneself. I see Sophia and Olivia with many of these same skills and traits - a clear reflection of who she is passed on to them.
- Dr. McCusker. She was my Dad's doctor from the time of his diagnosis in May 2009 until he went into the nursing home. She provided compassionate, thoughtful care to him. He always looked forward the appointments with her; and I know he felt listened to and respected.
Her support and care extended beyond my Dad to me (since I took my Dad to each appointment). She provided honest assessments and guidance about how to care for him as the Alzheimer's Disease took a greater hold on his mind and body.
- Jenny. Jenny was the Administrative Assistant at Dr. McCusker's office who always made sure that my Dad and I got the first appointment in the afternoon - the coveted 1:00 p.m. timeslot. She realized how far it was for me to travel from home to my Dad's home and then bring him to the medical clinic; and then repeat the drive back to his home and then to mine - about 120 miles round trip.
She listened and was very helpful in advocating for my Dad throughout the time he received care there. Having someone like Jenny on one's side when dealing with such challenging issues makes a huge- and positive - difference.
- My Dad. I've been sending my Dad a postcard or letter each week over the past few weeks as a way to stay connected when I am unable to visit him. The first week I sent a postcard of two Scottish highland cattle. When he lived on a farm, he had cattle and showed a calf one year for 4-H. He had a different breed than the kind pictured on the postcard, but they were cute, furry-looking ones that I thought he'd enjoy.
The second thing I sent was a Thanksgiving card which had words and thoughts that were exactly how I felt about my Dad. I included a personal note as well as a few photographs with the card - including one of Eenie (the cat) who Sophia, Olivia, and I bring on visits to him; one of him looking at the finches in the aviary which he enjoys; and one of he and my Mom, my sister, brother, grandchildren, and me. I noticed that someone had put the pictures up next to his bed so he could see them.
The postcard I sent today was handmade by a woman named Joan who I participated in a swap on Swap-Bot last year. She used an image from a greeting card glued onto a cardstock. Then, she put lots of snowflake cutouts in between the card and a transparency-type material. She sewed along the edge to enclose the snowflakes. When you move the card, the snowflakes move as well.
So, that wraps up the 30 Days of Giving Thanks. The challenge was timely; and certainly was a great motivator for me to let a variety of people know that I am thankful to them for the impact that they have had on my life and others.