Christmas is right around the corner, the preparatory season of Advent begins shortly, and Thanksgiving has just occurred. For what am I thankful? There are numerous things:
- After moving in with our dear dying friend Loretta in December, 2014, and staying at her place for months after she died to bring some sort of order to Loretta’s affairs ( for which she is responsible ), my dear Ellie moved back home on New Year’s eve 2015.
- Ellie and I were, therefore, together, living under the same roof, when Ruth ( Ellie’s sister-in-law ) died suddenly in very early January. We could provide support, care and concern for Ruth’s two daughters, and Ellie’s brother, Jim, who was having dementia, without having to communicate between two physical spaces.
- Though exhausted and grieving from caring for Loretta, Ellie showed me how to be hospitable by being open to her sister and her sister’s husband, who stayed with us when here for Ruth’s funeral and, later, when here to help get the estate ready for sale. She responded with similar hospitality when another sister flew into town to visit Jim.
- Ellie managed her job as executor of Loretta’s will very well. She got Loretta’s car to her nephew in Chicago without our having to drive there and managed to sell her condo with the only incident being a last-minute change of the closing date by only a few days.
- My friend Mic, who has been dealing with inoperable brain cancer for nearly a year, has had some good experiences recently. Two MRIs in a row have shown his tumor to have shrunk. His left hand has stopped shaking and is now strong enough that he can cut the fingernails on his right hand. He can taste food again. He no longer needs a cane, and his walking gait, which reminded me of someone who’d had a stroke, is darn near normal!
- I’ve found some time to interact with some neighbors in new ways. On one side, Andy and I collaborated on a new fence. On the other, Kevin and I borrowed a chain-saw from yet another neighbor and cut some growth in my yard that he had noticed and which did not belong there. Our neighborhood men’s 500 card party broke up when one of our number moved to Arizona; my neighbor two doors down solicited two other men and we now have a new card-party going on.
- Though I have been consumed by attempting to care for Ellie as she recovers from her grief and exhaustion and learns to live with significant arthritis pain, especially in her knees, my friends have been supportive by inquiring about how Ellie is and I am, and by not asking much of me.
- Ellie has found some relief from the arthritic pain in her knees. She has gone to a new clinic, seen X-Rays that show that her knees are not in awful shape, and almost completed a new regimen, which has provided improvement in her knees. She has also gotten knee braces, which are difficult to put on, make her feel uncomfortably strapped in, but which clearly stabilize her knees. She is talking of using these braces to take walks with me. I am excited.
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