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November 23, 2017

Elderly Mothers and Thanksgiving

I do have a great deal to be thankful for.

Mom is 98 years old and her blood pressure is 125 over 91, heart rate 101, oxygen level 98%. More or less, gets herself up at night to use the bedside commode. Is lucid some of the time. Sleeps most of the time. Doesn’t argue or quarrel. Eats like a stevedore (that’s a big, brawny dock worker) and my sister is worried she’ll get fat. Her right leg is getting more gangrenous but it’s not keeping her down.

I’m also thankful for Hospice and the hospital bed and the bedside table and the gloves and pull-ups and the medications and the visits by the nurses. And thanks to all of us who pay taxes to the government to make this happen.

And a special thanks for Veronica who is the most wonderful caregiver ever. She is gentle and kind, feeds Mom excellent vegetable soups and keeps Mom regular. She prays with Mom and sings with Mom and laughs with Mom while still caring for her own little family. Oh, wait, it’s not little. She has half a dozen brothers and sisters and in-laws and cousins and nieces and nephews that she will get to see this weekend in Fort Worth.

And thanks for an understanding husband who puts up with me sleeping over here in the trailer every night. And who made me taco supper last night so I could eat between feeding Mom and getting her in bed. And doesn’t begrudge me the time to take care of Mom. And still feeds the cats and takes care of the dogs. And was willing to take out a second mortgage on our own home in order to put in the trailer for Mom ten years ago.

And thanks for the wonderful mobile home/trailer that is spacious and comfortable and warm on these cold nights. And a bedroom large enough, at 16’ x 16’, to fit two beds, two comfy recliners, chests of drawers and bedside tables for Mom. At 60 feet long, it’s large enough to make jelly for the Church ladies and a meeting place for the Raven’s Quill writing group. And whether Mom recognizes it as hers or not, her pictures and paintings are all over the walls.

And thanks for a wonderful family of kind brothers and sisters and their various spouses who are willing to contribute towards Mom’s support. And for a cousin and sister and sister-in-law who are willing to come stay with Mom when the necessity arises. And for a cheerful family gathering two months ago, thinking it was nearing the end. Well, not so. She may well make it to 100.

And a special thanks to all my beloved friends and distant family whom I have abandoned and practically ignored. And to the wonderful friends at Carriage Inn whom I still get to see when I do the presentations for them. I still think of you and send my love even if I don’t get to be with you or talk as often as we used to. Thank you for being so understanding and for the kind gifts and your thoughts and prayers. They mean a lot.

And thanks to my wonderful Church family and our “Challenged” Challengers Sunday School class. And the jelly-making for the very successful church bazaar even if we didn’t sell all the jelly. (Come on, people, you know you need to give some of that jelly as Christmas gifts.) And the laughter and the friendships and the cookie exchange, for which I still need to make 3 dozen cookies.

And thanks for a country where we can have a Thanksgiving Day parade and celebrate with family. And for the wealth to be able to go out and shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, neither of which I am going to do, thank goodness. This will be a very quiet holiday for me. The Chinese will just have to make their money off of everyone else.

All things considered, I am very thankful for my family and for my cheerfully demented  mother who is going to keep me (and thank goodness, Veronica) busy feeding her, changing her, cleaning up after her for the next however many years. All told, it’s a good world with wonderful people like you in it!

May you be blessed with happiness and kindness and the joy of a loving family. Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday to all of you and yours.

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About Caroline Castillo Crimm

Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!

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