Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Looking Ahead To A New Year, January 2021

Where there is a stepping stone,
there is a milestone.
~P. S. Jagadeesh

Milestones in the Year Ahead. Like all of you, I am grateful for this new year of 2021. The last year was very difficult for our country as we struggled with the Pandemic, social upheaval, political strife, and economic problems. There will be a number of notable milestones in this coming year in our family history. I plan to highlight several of them in The Shepard's Crook as we move through 2021.

Our Grandparents Nola and Leroy Gower.
September 29, 2021 will be the
100th Anniversary of their wedding.
These milestones will include the 100th anniversary of my father's birth, the 100th wedding anniversary of my Gower Grandparents, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Civil War soldier David Reid Shannon, and much more. They are all milestones in our family that are worth remembering and celebrating. But most of all they contain family stories that remind us of where we came from and who we are when at our best.

A 5 Year Mark. This month marks the 5 year mark since our mother was diagnosed with Dementia. It has been quite a journey for all of us in her family. We have walked with her and cared for her through this difficult period of time. On a positive note, she has done surprisingly well physically in the last few years. She visited her doctor recently who said that her vitals were fine and that she appears to be in good overall health for 96 years old.

Over these last 5 years Mom has received excellent care from her immediate family. She has been able to remain in her own home, which is a big plus of course. Daughter Barb and son Gary have been her primary care givers, but in recent years she has also received support from all her family, in particular her daughter-in-law Cindy, her son Russ and his family, as well as her Church family and friends. These helpers are all in addition to other trained care givers who have been brought in and have been an important part of the caregiving team. 

Maida Gower Shepard, with Barbara, Gary and me
at her home in Anacortes, Washington

A Challenging Time. The last 5 years have not been without some challenges. It has been very stressful at times as Mom's children and grandchildren have struggled with decisions about her care and well being. We are not unlike many other families. When the beloved matriarch of a particular family moves into the sunset years of her life, it is normally very upsetting and difficult to deal with. But in the midst of it all we continue to remind ourselves that the bottom line is Mom's health and her overall well being. 

All those who have been involved in her care -- family, friends and professionals -- are to be thanked for their great efforts. Mom's good physical health at this stage of her life is a witness to their good work. They have given of themselves in a way that honors our parents. Living at a distance I am especially appreciative of all those who have had a part in caring for Mom.

Five years is a significant milestone. There have been some bumps in the road, some heartaches and some emotional turmoil. Our family has been tried and tested like never before in the last 5 years. Even so we continue to do our best for our dear mother. I hope and pray we can do just as well for the next 5 years, God willing.
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Steve Shepard (he, him, his)