Each year, we pause during Thanksgiving to give thanks to our creator, God for the blessings of life, family, friends, community, and country. Personally, I take time every day for devotion before I begin my day and have been doing so for the past thirty years. It helps me focus on how good God has been to me and encourages me to face the challenges each and every day I have breath.
Ever since I have been facing some physical challenges, giving thanks has a different meaning and has brought me much joy that I never thought possible. However, I do not want to dwell on me but instead I want to say thank you to my caregivers, especially since this is National Family Caregivers Month.
My primary caregivers are my wife Cheryl and my baby brother Vincent. They spend the lion’s share of time with me while the back up team consists of my daughters Lynn, Paulette, Regina and son, Hardy II along with their spouses Tim, Rickerby, Kurt, and Sonietta. I cannot forget my grandchildren because my eldest grandchild, James comes over to the house and cuts my hair so I look presentable to company and the public.
I give them thanks because they make me feel so special when it comes to fixing my favorite foods. You might ask, what is so special about that? Well with my condition, I cannot swallow certain foods if they are not cooked a certain way or if the seasoning is too strong. It will become lodged in or irritate my throat. They also know that while I am eating not to distract me by engaging in conversation or turning the television to a comedy program.
They also make sure that I am properly dressed in clothes that are appropriate for the weather since I spend most of my time sitting.
My family and my caregivers are so patient with me when I am speaking because I cannot project my voice like I used to and whenever I have company they will remain in hearing distance to repeat what I say if necessary. My brother Vincent took me to get another phone that can amplify my voice so it has helped when I am on the phone.
There are far too many things they do on a daily basis to list from something as simple as calling and checking up on me or Regina buying me some UGG boots that are very comfortable, Paulette and Kerby surprising me with some of Mommie Helen’s sweets from time to time or Hardy stopping by to give me a shower.
One of my greatest joys is when the grandchildren (girls) come over because they want to help me with everything, which I love. I have to mention all of my grandchildren’s names or they will not let me live it down: James, Justin, Jonathan, Alexander, Kennedy, Jordan, Peyton, Reagan, Carter, and great grand’s, Jaden, Isabelle, Olivia, Amity, Jasmine and Melissa.
Also, my church family led by Pastor Norman Copeland is a blessing that gives me much inspiration all the time by bringing me communion and a thoughtful card from my class leader sister Alice Wilson. I have known Pastor Copeland for over forty years and just this week, sister Gwen Heard brought me over a CD of songs by gospel singer and longtime friend with St. Paul AME Mass Choir, Claudell Curry.
Then there is my medical family at Kaiser Permanente in Fontana led by Dr. Paredes and Dr. Dang. They call me personally to schedule appointments or tell me to come in for lab work. Dr. Dang has even assembled a team of service providers so when I visit I see all of them at the same time, meaning I only have to make one trip to Kaiser instead of seven. Included in this medical family are my dentist Dr. Hong and his staff in Rialto.
And rounding out my network of family, friends, associates, and community that I am thankful for is my family in North Carolina made up of siblings and their children (close to 100) that stay in touch with me by email not to forget a slew of cousins, so you see I have a lot to be thankful for.
So this Thanksgiving I take time to say thank you to my family, friends, community, and country and know that from this North Carolina son and proud San Bernardinoan, I’m thankful and I Love You All.
Hardy L. Brown
Photo by benoitmalphettes.com