Friday, November 24, 2017

One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be family.

~ Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

We pick up a single piece of fish and chips on the way. Gerry’s sister, Barb, is already there when we arrive at the care home for a quiet birthday celebration. A beautifully decorated ice cream cake is tucked away in the freezer for later. Mum is in her brand new wheelchair and a woman is making tweaks and adjustments to the headrest.

Hugs and greetings all around, but little response from the birthday girl. Gerry and Barb set the food out, cutting the fish up and squeezing ketchup onto the side of the plate. I stand at the end of the table and snap a couple of photos to commemorate the day.

The fish and chips are a hit; the ice cream cake, not so much. We three chat amongst ourselves—and with a curious resident who stops by—and assist with getting food on the fork for Mum. She doesn’t respond to questions posed by her children but she obviously enjoys and appreciates the birthday lunch and that is enough. A quiet love settles over the little table. Precious.

Later, we three go out for lunch. Barb pulls a journal, written by their dad during the year they all lived in Antigua, out of her purse and reads a few entries. The siblings reminisce and laugh about the adventures they had. It’s a sweet time that honours parents—one gone, the other soon to follow—who poured out into the lives of their children and others.

In time, Gerry and I leave for the hour and a half drive home with our hearts as full as our bellies. I feel blessed, again and always, by the gift of family.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. I love this picture and all it represents. To lovingly care for an aging parent is a great honour and I am happy for all of you to be able to share in this. Your life always feels like family to me.

    1. I am abundantly blessed to have the opportunity to share in the love and care this family has for one another, Tamara. God gifted me greatly through my husband and the family that became mine when we married.

  2. A reminder of all the holiday meals I prepared the last 18 years of mom’s life. A sweet post.

  3. Hi Linda, I love that quote. It hits home with my siblings and me as we visit our 96-year-old mom in the nursing home. Even though Mom doesn’t talk as much as she used to and is tired much of the time, I love sitting with her beside the lake and just enjoying her closeness for as long as I can.

    1. I would not have thought it so until we began our weekly visits to the nursing home, but there are many blessings to be found there as well. How blessed you are to have this time with your mom, Judy.

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