Everyone in the family looks forward to Thanksgiving when we would all be away from work, would get to sleep late and wake up to the smells of something delicious my husband would be preparing for the traditional meal at my sister’s house. My sister has always been our “little Susie homemaker.” Susan loved having her family over for the day with the grandchildren running through the house, the guys watching football and her daughters and me helping in the kitchen. She was a wonderful cook. Everyone knew that the meal would be late, but it was always well worth the wait.
Several months ago Susan was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Susan is no longer able to cook…she cannot live alone anymore. Her walking and speech have been affected, and she has trouble swallowing. Her memory is fading away quickly. We have purchased a new home where she will live with my husband and me. We will cook together this Thanksgiving, but I will have to watch her carefully. Having her daughters and grandchildren over will be difficult, because Susan becomes easily overwhelmed. All of us know this could be her last Thanksgiving and that is a difficult reality to face. This year we are choosing to be thankful for our new home, Susan’s presence and having the family together. This year our holiday traditions have been interrupted by a brain disease, and nothing will ever be the same again.