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What I learned about celebrating holidays

November 29, 2009
by Kathleen Mears
| Reprints

My first couple of years here I did not really feel much like celebrating Thanksgiving. My sister and her family came to the Family Thanksgiving Dinner the week before. But on Thanksgiving Day they had other plans that kept them away. I felt a bit sorry for myself because I did not want to be alone. I longed for my mother's Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I did not think that being in a facility would put me in the holiday mood.

Since I already spent a lot of time on the computer, I decided to see what else I could find to do. I have always felt that television programmers remember those who are in the hospital, in nursing homes, or those who are alone on holidays.

But with the nursing home staff observing me, I did not want to appear sad and lonely. After all, the staff was here and they count.

Thanksgiving's TV listings, showed an "X-Files Marathon". I had never been able to watch that show because it either interfered with my shower or bedtime.

When Thanksgiving arrived I told the staff that I would spend most of the day in front of the TV. I said I wanted to eat my meals there and move away only for bathroom breaks. I told them I wanted to experience this TV show and spend quality time with myself on the holiday. They sort of looked at me strangely but they went along with me.

That Thanksgiving I spent eight hours watching the "X-Files Marathon" and I really enjoyed it.

I found I did not need family or friends to have a good holiday. I just had to pay attention and be aware of what I could do to keep myself busy. After watching the marathon, I was able to have discussions with staff that were "X-Files" fans.

I now know that when holiday plans get changed, canceled, or when I am alone, other special opportunities present themselves. All I have to do is to be open to them.

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Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...