Memories of my first Christmas in East Quogue …By the time I moved here, I had been a sole caregiver for 10 years for four loved ones. Now I was down to two.
Unable to cope with end-stage emphysema, my husband, an “impatient” patient, was in a nursing home in Westhampton Beach. My mom was in rehab in Center Moriches. For the past three months, I had been visiting them both every day—going in a circle from my home in East Quogue to Center Moriches, back to Westhampton Beach and then home again, completely exhausted from the stress.
My mom was showing signs of dementia and my husband was hallucinating from a lack of oxygen. Trying not to upset them, I found myself “seeing” things that weren’t really there, “hearing” things that made no sound, and “agreeing” with them about the most bizarre things. As I listened to them and then myself, I really wondered just who the “crazy” one was!
It was late in the afternoon on a cold, bleak December day. Bitter, blustery winds were blowing and overhead the sky was leaden with heavy clouds. It surely felt like snow. Every arthritic bone in my body hurt.
I limped to my car, got in, turned the heat up high and drove away, as the trees swayed wildly, almost all of their leaves gone. As I rounded a curve, an oncoming truck crossed over the divider line and, as I swerved to avoid him, I thought “Why did I bother?”
What a wake-up call! I had to cheer myself up. I stopped in town, but I just couldn’t get out of my car. I was too tired. I just sat there feeling sorry for myself, tears in my eyes, cold and alone.
Snow began to fall, light and fluffy, with great big flakes that danced and swirled in the wind. And, then, the holiday lights suddenly came on, their bright colors twinkling happily on the Christmas trees lining Main Street. Downtown East Quogue was transformed into a fairyland … something warm and inviting … something right out of a Christmas movie … my very own “Miracle on Main Street.”
Deciding to seize the moment, I quickly got out of my car and walked along Main Street, not minding at all that I was getting wet, not even feeling the cold, the caress of the snowflakes on my face somehow comforting my very soul.
I finally knew what would cheer me up. Fresh mozzarella and pasta from Sonny’s, a good bottle of merlot from JoAnn and a bouquet of fresh flowers from Cathy would all help chase those caregiver blues away.
At last, with my precious treasures in hand, I drove away, with music in my heart, a smile on my face and a feeling of hope that someday, soon, once again, all would be right in my world …
Very special wishes, dear readers, for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!