Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve

I'm working on a Thanksgiving post which will go up at some point this weekend, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some of my reflections from Thanksgiving Eve of last year. Since I am now looking back, I can set the stage a bit before sharing my old post. The "errand" I was running was picking up my sister Naomi at the airport. Her arrival from Idaho was a surprise to my family. The only people who knew about it were Joe, Domani, the dear friend of mine who bought her ticket, and one other close friend. She stayed at our house on Thanksgiving Eve. It was a very special time. When she walked up from our basement and surprised my family just before our Thanksgiving meal it was one of the most memorable moments of my life. And Joe was right there in the middle of it.

There are two things that I especially love about this post now looking back on it with a year's perspective: The TINSEL Holiday Strategy from Dr. Bruce Pfohl and my own realization as to how important it is to "step back and be". As I re-read this post, I realized that I have integrated both of these things into my life pretty well over the past year and the result has been a more healthy me - spiritually, emotionally, and physically. 

There are many things that we cannot control in this world. I'm thankful that in the midst of my loss and pain, I've been able to seek love and growth. May that continue.

With Naomi on Thanksgiving 2011 (photo by Joe)
Thanksgiving Eve
Written November 24, 2011 1:43am by Anne Luck-Deak

I'm really excited about spending some time with family this weekend and unplugging a bit from the hustle and bustle of work. Even with everything going on, we are still so blessed. 
Tonight I was out running an errand with Domani and he became very upset. He was crying. I was stuck in traffic. I could feel the stress level rising. I kept thinking "I just need to get home, let me just hurry home". But he kept crying and it was like we were in slow motion on the road. Then I realized I was almost out of gas and as if designed by heaven itself there was a gas station right off to the side. Not just any gas station either. One with a convenience store. I got out and while the tank was being filled took Domani into the store to walk around. It was just what we both needed. The stress level quickly returned to "normal" and we were back in the car and on our way in no time.
God used this little incident to teach me something very important today, not just about caregiving but about life. I don't always have to keep plugging along. I don't always have to be the brave one or the one with the answers or the one in control. Just like tonight when I surrendered to the situation at hand and consequently found some peace, sometimes it's important just to step back and be. Just be. Sometimes what I think of as a waste of time or a nuisance is really a path to peace and perspective.
I will close with this - something related that was shared with me recently. Maybe you will find it as helpful as I did.
Dr. Bruce Pfohl has come up with what he calls "The Tinsel Holiday Strategy". It resonated with me and I think it works well not only for caregivers but for anyone wanting to keep their sanity during the holidays.   

T - Tell others what you want and what is important to you as part of your celebration of the holidays.
I - Inquire about what is important to others' celebration.
N - Negotiate how you will celebrate. Recognize that the holidays often bring together people with different family traditions.
S - Share the work and responsibility. Some people are very good at seeing what work needs to be done, others need a reminder or some scheduling. 
E - Enjoy the moment.  Rather than dwelling on the ways that your holiday does not fit the fantasy, find ways of enjoying the reality. Again, keep expectations for the holiday season manageable.
L - Limit.  Respect the limits and boundaries of others and be clear to yourself and others about your limits.


  1. Love your Tinsel holiday strategy! I recently discovered that, when I am shoved up against a wall and sure there is no way over it, I CAN step back from it. When I step back just two steps, I can breathe again. I can notice the blue sky and my arms can relax. Amazing!

    I am going to attempt to publish this comment but the last two times I have tried to comment on your posts, the word verification tool would NOT accept my attempts - here goes

    1. Okay, so it finally worked! Now I know that I just have to add a little note to make it work. :)