Tuesday, November 25, 2008

caregiving: Thanksgiving is not a Norman Rockwell painting

In 1621 the Wampanoag signed an alliance which gave the English permission to use about 12,000 acres of land for Plymouth Plantation.

54 years later the Wampanoags were nearly exterminated in war with the colonists. Surviving male captives were sold to slave traders. Their families, women and children, were used as slaves in the New England colonies.

Thanksgiving eve 1989 Patti (totally able bodied) and I spent the night playing with our then 18 month daughter, taking turns with the butterball turkey on the tot slide.

In the morning Patti awoke unable to walk, see, and barely able to talk from Multiple Sclerosis, spending the remainder of the holiday weekend hospitalized.

On Thanksgiving 2001, I stood on the streets of a resurgent New York City.

Too full of parental pride as my daughter marched by in the Macy's Parade to even notice how cold it was.

On Thanksgiving 2007, I looked across the table into the smiling eyes of my youngest cousin. Premature birth, infantile myotonic muscular dystrophy, liver cancer, and months of chemotherapy and successful surgery had challenged his less than two years of life to sit at that table.

Thanksgiving memories are not Norman Rockwell paintings but rather benchmarks of the life we are given and what we choose to make of it.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
website: http://caregivinglyyours.com/
videos: http://www.youtube.com/daddyleer
musings: Patrick Ponders ...


  1. Oh I totally hear you. I am thinking of last year often, my MIL still here and years past with all that have gone around the table. The memories aren't bad, just longingly sad.

  2. Great post. Thought provoking. Hope you have a wondeful Thanksgiving...

  3. I don't think it could of been said better dear one! Thank you for reminding me of this. (Hugs)Indigo

  4. amen to that, Patrick; I have to say I have never saw anyone play with a turkey on a slide, that picture is precious! its sad though that the very next day your life changed so drastically

    may you and Patti and Megan have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


  5. What a powerful post Patrick! It's not a Rockwell painting is it? More of a reminder to be grateful for today.

  6. Well said Patrick, Well said. Like every holiday, the true meanings have all been clouded by years of neglect and change. Your post brought Thanksgiving and it's true meaning back to life and possibly will inspire thought to the real meaning of Christmas too. Hope you and yours had the greatest of Thanksgivings! I also hope you the best of the coming days, months and years.

  7. Patrick, I left you an award at my place. You deserve it.

  8. ((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU)))))))))))))Great post,thank you for reminding me this.Eve thoe you had hard times ahead,you made everything possible,you stood by Patti and your Daughter.I wanted you to know,you have an award on my Blog.


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