Help Aging Parents–Thanksgiving Preparations: When Old (and young) are “Ify” (may not come)

The table is set. We’re still uncertain how many people will celebrate Thanksgiving with us.
I remember Eloise (she’s the woman who posted DNR’s all around her home, and died in her sleep at 95) telling me, “when planning a party and older people are coming, there’s a chance someone won’t make it.” We now know the college grad is coming. Still not certain about our recently-out-of-the-hospital relative (in his 70’s) and his wife.

That said, we decided it’s easier to subtract than to add places at a table. We put leaves in at either end and will sit two people on each end. If our relative and his wife can’t come, one person will sit on each end–not a difficult change.

R at 99 is so wise–a reason she has been one of my senior advisors since I began this blog. We discussed the ever-changing last-minute guest list of the last 24 hours (at one point there was a possibility of adding two additional people –an octogenarian and her daughter who R thought were without plans). R said, speaking from experience and referring to our relative, “You know, being in another environment often makes people forget their problems for a while. It will be good for him.”

I have a feeling he and his wife will make the effort to come, and since we’re family and close friends, how can it not be good? So I’ll head to the kitchen, finish the yams and stuffing, and make a nontraditional frozen cranberry salad. Tomorrow I’ll put the turkey on a rotisserie. That act, in and of itself, is the most difficult part. The turkey bastes itself.  We all have our traditions. The cranberry necklace will once again adorn the turkey; the place cards will be autumn leaves, saved and reused from years’ past.*

And we will be thankful that we’re together once again. And again this year we will give thanks for our many blessings and ask protection for those in far away lands, sacrificing to keep us safe so our lives and traditions can go on as usual.


*(Note the leaf place cards: when people die, their leaf place cards continue to be with us as part of the centerpiece…when there’s a divorce, the leaf becomes compost.)

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