Different . . . But HOPE Remains

Different . . . that’s how things are these days! As the fall season ended and the holidays start approaching, I knew that things would be different. But, just how different things would be is something I couldn’t comprehend. Even starting with Thanksgiving typical traditions all seemed to be thrown out the window. But that doesn’t mean that “different” is bad . . . you just have to see things from a different perspective.

It all started the week before Thanksgiving when we were kindly reminded by a resident here that the community dinner was to be held the Monday before Thanksgiving. I asked my Dad why they do this and he said it’s so families could celebrate on their own Thanksgiving Day. This made sense to me. So the week before Thanksgiving, mom picked my outfit and my aide curled my hair getting my fancy for the dinner. Mom joined me that night as all the residents met in the dining hall for a simple turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy dinner. Even though it wasn’t ‘homemade’ or warm pumpkin pie with a dollop of cool whip, we did end with a big serving of pumpkin pie! Pumpkin pie is delicious no matter how it is served!

Two days later, my sister, Megan, flew in to visit for a week. We enjoyed talking and painting together before the family left for the weekend to visit Melissa, David and baby Landon. I’m really glad they got to visit them, but with no company around I started to get a little bored.

When the family returned, we did more fun activities like a Mary Kay facial and painted nails. The best part was on Wednesday . . . I got to go home! A transport van came while my Hospice aide bundled me up and followed from behind in her car. I enjoyed talking more with my sisters and got to hold my cat, Muffy, on my lap! They said he was purring but I couldn’t feel it, but it was special anyway.

When dinner finally rolled around, my aide helped feed me. Marcia asked if I wanted some mashed potatoes. I quickly declined the mashed and any green beans. Instead, I wanted the corn pudding, stuffing, sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce . . . and of course, the turkey! There was a little break, and then we had pumpkin pie. Soon after, the transport van came to get me. I did enjoy mom’s homemade pumpkin pie with a couple dollops of cool whip.

When I came back, I was greeted by the aides and nurses giving me my medicines. In my mind, I told myself, “welcome back to reality.” Megan and Dad came so I could say goodbye to Megan, as she was to leave very early the next morning, which was Thanksgiving Day. As I sat waiting for them, I sat and reflected on how much work it was for me to go home. As much as I still want to be at home, I know this is where God wants me to be. In those special times and memories, I remember I have much to be thankful for. Since we celebrated Thanksgiving early, when Thanksgiving day did come, it didn’t really feel like it.

Over the weekend, my sister, Marcia, came to help decorate my room for Christmas! She hung up lights and put up my nativity set. She hung garland, Christmas ornaments and curly ribbon. As she was decorating, we were discussing Christmas memories which I remembered a few fun memories from college days. One year, my roommates and I hung up socks in our dining room. Since I don’t have a stocking at the nursing home, Marcia helped me pick out a festive M&M sock. She hung it above my bed and I make it a point to tell everyone to look at my “stocking”! My favorite though was that she came back after she made a tree out of bows! I can’t see any of this, but just knowing my room is decorated gives the upcoming Christmas season a bit of cheer.

Just like Thanksgiving, traditional Christmas just won’t be the same. Things will still be busy with parties, people visiting, people caroling, but I won’t be there, I won’t be baking Christmas cookies with mom or going Christmas shopping and wrapping presents. I won’t be at the Christmas Eve service or driving around afterward looking at people’s fancy decorated lights on their houses. I won’t be watching Muppet’s Christmas Carol movie on Christmas Eve or enjoying Dad’s delicious French toast that we would enjoy with several cups of coffee. I won’t be listening to Dad reading the Gospel of Luke Chapter 2 Christmas Story, but I did ask Dad to come in and write it on my arm. You see the things are different, since Thanksgiving, my body has changed, but that doesn’t stop the Christmas season from coming. In Dr. Suess’ book The Grinch that stole Christmas, the little Who’s down in Whoville were preparing for Christmas. Very much in the same Christmas ways, they buy presents, wrap them, decorate the tree and stock their refrigerators for the feast. Christmas Eve, we find them all asleep, but only Cindy Lou Who meets the Grinch. In his disguise as Santa, tells her the tree lights need fixing, giving her a glass of water and patting her on the head, he sent her back to bed. Waking up Christmas morning, the Who’s discover the Grinch had taken everything, but they still met and sang together. Why? Because the joy of Christmas Day was there and they welcomed it!

Sitting here in my chair, I feel that my spinning darkness and new tremors and nerve related issues could act somewhat like the Grinch. Then I get cards of encouragement from family and friends, and it gives me HOPE to press on. Then I remember that Christmas time is still coming—this brings back the joy and hope of Christmas. That’s the real reason why I celebrate Christmas because Joy came to the World through God’s only son, Jesus.

 

“Christmastime”

Lyrics by Michael W. Smith

Ring Christmas bells

Ring them loud with the message bringing

Peace on the earth

Tidings of good cheer

Come carolers

Come and join with the angels singing

Joy to the world

Christmas time is here again

Children gather around and listen

You’ll hear the sound

Of angels filling the sky

Telling everyone

Christmas time is here

Ring Christmas bells

Ring them loud with the message bringing

Peace on the earth

Tidings of good cheer

Come carolers

Come and join with the angels singing

Joy to the world

Christmas time is here again

Loved ones close to our hearts

and strangers in lands afar

Together share in the joy

Emmanuel

To tell the world

He has come to dwell

The time is near

With one voice

Let the world rejoice

Christmas time is here

Ring Christmas bells

Ring them loud with the message bringing

Peace on the earth

Tidings of good cheer

Come carolers

Come and join with the angels singing

Joy to the world

Christmas time is here again

Children gather around and listen

You’ll hear the sound

Of angels filling the sky

It’s Christmas time is here again

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Different . . . But HOPE Remains

  1. Mary Lynn

    I don’t know if she knows me, but please tell Mel I said “Hi” and thank her for keeping up her blog.

  2. Jill Pinkerton

    Thank you! You encourage me so much Mel. Much love to you.

  3. estherbentonmorford

    Thank you for sharing your Thanksgiving. You are an inspiration to all of us in the way you are anticipating Christmas. I pray that you will have some very special times during this season. I love you and God loves you even more.

  4. christi Ramsay Rowe

    God’s Teaching through You!!! Thank You!

  5. Julie smith

    Mel, I’m glad you got to spend some time with family at home for thanksgiving! Things are different…but your memories are so special! Cherish them as you make new ones! MERRY CHRISTMAS! The season is bright with the love and light of Jesus! That’s the most special memory of all!!

  6. Carol Hoke

    Melinda, God’s grace is evident through you. His Spirit speaks to your spirit. Thank you for sharing with us.

  7. Lois

    I am so glad you were able to be at home for Thanksgiving. Praying that your Christmas will be very special, despite all the differences. You are much loved.

  8. Thank you, Me,l for your blog. I pray you have a very Merry Christmas. I know things are very different for you this year. I am so glad you got to come home for Christmas and that you got to hold your cat!

  9. Catherine Aviles

    What a blessing to be at home for Thanksgiving! Love you and praying for you friend!

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