It was Thanksgiving, but my husband Larry’s condition had progressed so far that he wasn’t able to leave the care facility and come home even for a few hours. So my friend Christina and I had an idea—we would take Thanksgiving to him.
I reserved a room, and Christina and I started a day of cooking. On Thanksgiving Day, we went to the care facility early and decorated the room with balloons and autumn leaves. We covered the long table with a bright tablecloth and laid out napkins with colorful Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving scenes.
“We have room for seven more people besides the three of us,” I told my husband. “Who shall we invite to join us?”
After Larry made his choices, we still had three places. So I got Mary. (She had been there six years and had never had a visitor.) I got Frank, too. (He could be a bit grouchy at times, but who wouldn’t be? He had never had a visitor either.) And we asked Larry’s favorite nurse, a huge bear of a guy named Dave, to sit with us for a bit.
We ate turkey and stuffing and all the fixings. We sang a few songs. Then, as Christina handed around pumpkin pie, I suggested we go around the table and share our best Thanksgiving ever.
“I love every Thanksgiving,” Dave said. “But this one is special because I’m here with all of you.”
“This one,” said Earlene. “Because every year is more blessed than the one before.” She had suffered a stroke at the age of 45 and had been at the care facility for fifteen years.
“This one,” Frank said. “Because you invited me.”
“This one,” Larry said. “This one.”
That was Larry’s last Thanksgiving.
“For all that has been -thanks! To all that shall be – yes!”