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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Location: United States

Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I Give Thanks

The turkey was in the oven and roasting as Mom slept. Two Feather came down and we sat upstairs sipping our morning coffee and talking about the two Thanksgiving dinners I’d prepared at our house. We’d only been together two years when I moved in with Mom to take care of her. Since then, we’ve had all our holiday meals here at her house. We talked about how we were just getting to know each other and learning how to live with each other when I had to move here; and we talked about how we’ll need to learn that all over again when the time comes for me to move back.

I have so much to be thankful for. Not just today, but every day. Every day is difficult for Two Feather and I being apart, but holidays are an especially difficult time. He’s been so very patient with me in my care giving for Mom and I know he’s terribly lonely each evening as he sits in our house alone while I’m down here at Mom’s. I’m so thankful that he’s as understanding and caring as he is. For him, I give thanks; for without him, his support, and his shoulder to cry on, my care giving would be so much more difficult.

I had a very loving and caring father who made so many wonderful memories for me. Everything I know about carpentry, roofing, electrical work, plumbing, butchering, farming, gardening—well everything I know about almost everything, I learned from him. Mom taught me all the ladylike things, like cooking, cleaning, ironing, baking, and canning. They both taught me to be respectful, honest, and true to myself. For my parents, I give thanks. I couldn’t have asked for better parents if I were to pick them out myself.

I miss my dad terribly during the holidays, and in the ten years that he’s been gone; my mom has taken his chair at the head of the table, whether dinner was at my house or hers. Today, as everyone filled their plates with the holiday dinner, I thought how lucky I am to be here—to still be alive to enjoy each and every day with my family, whether it is at a dinner table or a conversation on the phone. Stacey called this morning and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving. Trinity and Quenton got on the phone and I talked to them, too. I give thanks that the Creator allowed me to live to have two wonderful daughters of my own, who in turn gave me grandchildren. For my life, my children, and my grandchildren, I give thanks.

I thought of all my caregiver friends and said a silent prayer for those who would be spending their first Thanksgiving without their loved ones. I wished for them to have a happy holiday knowing that their loved ones are at peace, and hoped they would be surrounded with love. And I wished a “good day” for those who are still caring for their loved ones. For my caregiver friends and all their support, I give thanks. I hope your day was as wonderful as mine was.

Quietly I watched everyone eat dinner; Katie sitting at the table eating with grown up silverware, and everyone adding to their plates. I paid particular attention to Mom. I’d filled Mom’s plate with a little of everything from each bowl, and with each spoonful said a silent prayer of thanks for another day with Mom, my family, and for the food. The most anyone said while eating was how good everything tasted. We were too busy eating to say much else.

Each time Mom took a bite of food she told me everything was delicious and thanked me for making the meal. After each bite she would look up at everyone around the table, look down at her plate, fill her fork, and tell me it was delicious. I watched and listened each time she filled her fork. By the time everyone was finished eating, Mom had finished her whole plate of food, too! She said, “That was delicious, honey. I’m full.” I said, “I’m so proud of you, Mom. That’s the most you’ve eaten in a long time.” She said, “Really?” I said, “Really! And I’m so happy you ate so well.”

I turned my head to hide my tears. Two Feather saw them. I know he knew what the tears were for. Angel and Tim saw them, too. I’m pretty sure they knew why I had tears in my eyes, too.

For Mom eating, I give thanks.

Love you, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Blogger Lori1955 said...

I'm glad you had such a good day and found so much to be grateful for. I can just imagine how thrilled you were to see mom finish her plate. what a blessing.

11/23/2007 6:38 AM  
Blogger nancy said...

i too am so glad that you had a wonderful day, surrounded by love and family.

so glad to hear your mom ate well!!! i had tears in my eyes as i read your post....

11/23/2007 3:44 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Lori and Nancy, how was your Thanksgiving? I hope you both had a good day filled with love and family.

It was a blessing to see Mom eat, Lori. Sorry I made you cry again, Nancy.

11/23/2007 6:05 PM  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

I'm so glad your day went well, Joanne. It had to feel wonderful to see your mom clean her plate!

11/24/2007 12:58 AM  
Blogger flintysooner said...

That's such a lovely post.

It reminds me of the ordinary miracles song that I've come to love so much. Such amazing love and beauty so profoundly displayed in the gathering of family and friends.

I wondered how long you and Two had been together before the caregiving. I met and married during my time and almost didn't but glad I did. The adjustment time is kind of fun for us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

11/24/2007 10:29 AM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

It was wonderful, Betsy. But as with most things with this disease, there's that wonder that creeps into our minds as to how long it will last. I didn't have to wonder long. She was back to eating very little at breakfast. It was great while it lasted. :)

Thank you, Terry. I'm happy your adjustment time has been fun for you and Judy. I hope our's is too when that time comes.

11/24/2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger cornbread hell said...

i give thanks that i read this beautiful post.

11/24/2007 11:04 AM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

:D I give thanks for friends like you.

11/24/2007 11:35 AM  
Blogger rainbowheart said...

It is wonderful to hear that your Mom had a full meal that was finished. You have a beautiful family. Thank you so much for sharing this special day with us....

11/24/2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger ~Betsy said...

Just checking in on you, Joanne. Keep your head low today - it's the start of buck season!

11/26/2007 9:14 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Sorry this is late, but we were out of town for Thanksgiving and I did not get a chance to leave a comment.
I'm glad you had a nice Thanksgiving. This was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

11/26/2007 11:35 AM  
Blogger nancy said...

just checking in with you to see how things are going. been thinking of you!

11/27/2007 5:15 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thank you, Rainbow. Hope your day was great too!

Thanks, Jeff. I'm glad you liked it. Hope your day was beautiful too.

Betsy, thanks for checking in. Yes we are very careful during hunting season. All of our land is posted 'no trespassing, no hunting' but that doesn't stop the hunters sometimes. The deer hang out right next to Mom's house in her front yard because they know they're safe here. Can't shoot within 250 feet of a dwelling. :D

Thanks Nancy. I'm still kicking. ;)

11/27/2007 5:35 PM