This will be the first major holiday that we won't be able to bring Dad home from his residential care facility to be with family. He just isn't up to negotiating stairs and strange rooms and commotion and big meals. And although I know it's the right decision, I feel incredibly guilty about it.
We'll visit him, of course. It just won't be in the traditional manner. But we'll make it the best that we can. For him. And for us.
Thinking about this makes me also think about all the residents I know at Dad's facility who have no one to visit them on the holidays, or any day. Oh, they have family, many of them do, anyway. The family just doesn't visit.
I understand how hard it is. I understand that it's heartbreaking to only see the shell of someone you love. I understand that it's even harder to see them decline with each visit. I understand that it's hard to leave your merry-making on a holiday and go to a place that's not so merry and bright.
But you know what? Get over it.
You think it's hard for you? Think about your loved one. Put yourself in their wheelchair. Wouldn't you want to know (and I think deep down, they do) that someone cares enough to take time out of their day to visit you? To wish you well? To hold your hand or hug you with joyful holiday wishes?
Get over yourself. You want true holiday spirit? Go visit someone in an assisted living or nursing home for the holidays. Even if it's depressing. 'Cause you know what? That's got the true meaning of Christmas written all over it: Love.
Show a little to the forgotten ones this holiday season. You will feel blessed.