“Christmas in the Nursing Home” — Sounds like everyone’s nightmare Christmas, doesn’t it.  If you had to choose one single place on this earth you would rather not be on Christmas Day, a nursing home would be pretty much up at the top.

Well, actually it wasn’t that bad.  The staff at Bayside Nursing home, where Don is now a resident, went out of their way to be cheery and chatting with everybody, had the residents laughing as often as not. And the food was like the Christmas fare everywhere; prawns and turkey and ham; offers of cider or wine; pavlovas and Christmas cakes and puddings.  And by the time I arrived, Santa had already been around, with a gift for every person there, courtesy of the giving tree somewhere – they were good presents, too, not just a tin of beetroot or a Go-Lo keyring, eg Don got a hat and some Brut men’s cologne.  There were decorations up everywhere, and Christmas music playing, and the place was milling with family groups, children, teenagers, wheeling their oldies with them.

Lots of visitors like myself, sitting around the meal table, so we had a good conversation, and Don joined in with one of his jokes (a shearers joke, so corny it’s embarrassing) and a piece of trivia about Ben Chifley (wanted to go to the movies so he queued for tickets like everybody else!) and teased one of the nurses (his favourite) – so he had a good day too, and even seemed to shed some of the lethargy that seems to be with him lately.

With the death of our son Ross I had been dreading Christmas.  The absence of one so beloved would be overwhelming, and would overshadow the whole day.  Being at the nursing home was different from any of our previous Christmases, and we were surrounded by people who held no memories for us, so it turned out not to be the ordeal it could have been.  A really enjoyable day, in fact.

A merry Christmas to all my readers!


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