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An Independence Day to Remember

     I write these words on the morning of July 4, but I celebrated the Independence Day holiday last night.  An outdoor concert, parking lot dance floor and lovely fireworks display took place at the nursing home/memory care facility where my mom lives.  It was my best July 4th in years.


     Many (maybe most) of the residents lined up in their wheelchairs last night to enjoy the beautiful July evening have, like my own mother (despite a lifetime of work), run out of sufficient financial resources to afford the care they need.  Their care is supplemented by Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  As my mother and I often say, "Thank you, FDR."  But of course we also know it is right to say, "Thank you, America."


     Some of the residents are old.  Some of them are fairly young.  All of them have severe disabilities.  Some have family members who live nearby and visit often.  Some have close family who don't seem interested.  Others have loving family members who live far away.  Last night everyone had a family because everyone was included.


     The staff and facility owners were there with their own children.  Teens and adults served ice cream cones and hammed it up to entertain the crowd.  Some like my mom became captivated by young children and teens who clowned around, danced to the music, or sat down to hold hands with people who have few hands to hold.  The musicians used their electronic keyboard, toe-tapping percussion beat, and heartfelt songs to lift the spirit of those in attendance.  It worked with me!


     Whenever a disoriented resident seemed ready to join the band, one of the singers danced the resident back to the audience, all smiles and joy.  The fireworks at the end worried my mom a bit (they always did; once a mom, always a mom) but captivated some of the men who may have been remembering their own battlefield experiences when bombs did, indeed, burst in the air.  


     I am grateful for the generous hearts of the staff who hosted such an unforgettable evening and who care for my mother and others daily in so many loving ways.


     I am grateful for the kind of "safety net" which provides a secure home for the disabled, both young and old, who need one.


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