Nursing Home Flashback

It’s two days before Thanksgiving. I’m working at a nursing home today. I just witnessed a family member dropping off some items for their parent, a resident of this facility.

This triggered a flashback to when I was doing the very same thing, several months ago. My mother had been transferred from yet another hospitalization to a nursing home, to receive short-term rehabilitation services.

My mother had markedly, and most unexpectedly, improved. I briefly stopped by to drop off some clothing for her. I told her that she would soon be coming back home. I blinked back tears as I said goodbye to her that evening.

Fast forward to today, several months later. My mother passed away in early May, more than six months ago. This will be our first Thanksgiving without her. It’s been very bittersweet lately, as I recall previous Thanksgivings spent with her, and both of my older sisters. I miss her so very much.

Part of me wants to just skip this entire holiday season, to be perfectly honest. Nevertheless, I choose not to listen to this perspective.

While meeting with residents today, I asked each of them what they were grateful for this year. This is no small feat, given that these residents have spent several consecutive months in a state of severe isolation.

Many of these residents have become much more seriously depressed as a result of ongoing isolation. Virtual visits don’t allow for much-needed hugs and kisses from family members.

Today, I’m asking myself what I’m still thankful for this year. It’s been a year of significant losses and transition. I lost my mother. My daughter’s marriage ended. COVID-19 happened.

Nevertheless, there is so so very much for which I’m truly thankful this year. I’m thankful to still able to meet with a caseload of residents who are extremely lonely, especially this holiday season.

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