She was a talented artist with

blonde hair and eyes of blue,

She owned a essence of gentlewoman

and it often occurred to me that,

despite theillusion of feminine helplessness,

she actually had nerves of steel;

She cared for her husband, my father’s

brother, for over five years–maybe closer

to ten–through stroke after stroke until

he became completely helpless and

debilitated and had to go into a nursing

home.  Soon after, he passed away and

she seemed to have lost her reason for

living and then illnesses haunted her

fragile body.

The last time I saw her was in the summer

of 2012; her daughter needed a vacation

and arranged for plane tickets for me

through a man my cousin was dating.

My aunt could speak and manage to

eat; she could let you know whether

or not she liked a dish, with facial expressions.

I told her I was not a gourmet cook but would

try to please her.

I knew, when I flew back to California two

weeks later, that I would not see her alive,

again.  I  could not make it back to Florida

for a memorial service.

I believed then, as I do now, that her daughter

was relieved to have her mother finally  pass away.

My  cousin wanted to get on with her life and

neither of her brothers were willing to care for

their mother.

She was my favorite aunt (as well as a  beloved

favorite of my brothers and my sister, Becky)

and I greatly admired her talent, but I couldn’t do any more for her.

I couldn’t continue to stay with her even though

I knew she had  a daughter who wanted her

mother to die. Before I left, my cousin told me

I spoiled her and she wouldn’t be spoiled that

way after I was gone.  My aunt suffered a rapid

breakdown after I left.  My cousin and I were

direct opposites but there was nothing else I

could say or do.

The message is, I think, be careful of the ones

you are caring for–remember that the time

may come when you are the patient and some

one else will be caring for you.

Sandra Lee Smith

originally posted March, 2015

Updated July 26, 2018


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