…And So Does Auntie   Leave a comment

The last time I saw Auntie Ena was 5 years ago. This time, she’s attached to an oxygen tank, 24/7, with a tube long enough to travel with her upstairs. It was quite a jolt seeing her with it for the first time, it made it much more real than just hearing about it from Mum. For a split second, my heart sank; she looked so frail. A part of my heart always hopes that the people I love will look the same as they did the last time I saw them. My brain, however, knows this is nothing but an unrealistic dream. But as soon as Sheilan and I walk into the room, Auntie’s eyes light up and her arms reach out to hug and kiss us both. I knew then that I was home!

You see, although my growing up years were with my Dad, Nanny & Auntie’s home ran a very close second (Nanny has been gone for some years now). My daughter and I are still Auntie’s ‘Dears’ and she still has the same laugh I always loved. Her hearing is not what it was and her knees are shot so she doesn’t leave the house she has lived in for probably close to 50 years. We chat, although it sometimes takes a while because we have to repeat things but that’s okay because this is our time together. So we shout as though we are talking to the bloke across the street. Ask her if she wants a cup of tea and the answer you get usually has nothing to do with the question asked but we all have a good laugh….and so does Auntie!

The day after our trek into London, I made tea for us all. Not the kind you drink but the meal we Brits have for dinner. On the menu was Sweet ‘n Sour Chicken and a medley of rice with carrots and broccoli. The conversation went something like this:
Auntie: “I don’t like this!”
Mum: “It’s Sweet ‘n Sour, we had it the other week and you said you liked it.”
Auntie: “I don’t like it. It’s too sweet.”
Mum gives me the rolling eyes and I quietly say to her: “Maybe she’ll at least pick out the chicken and eat it.” We continue to watch telly and eat our meal. Mum and I each steal sidelong glances at the plate of unloved food.
Auntie: “Don’t bother getting it again, I don’t like it!”
Over the next few minutes, the rice, the chicken AND the sauce magically disappear leaving the plate so spotless you would swear we hadn’t fed her.
Me, as I prepare to take her plate: “How was it, Auntie?”
Auntie: “Very nice, dear. I really enjoyed that!”
Of course, we all laugh so much after we recounted the story…and so does Auntie!

There is a sense of irony about all this because just this morning one of the carers told me how much they all love Auntie. She is very sweet, is always up for a laugh and never complains. Well, she is 95 and if all she complains about is one chicken dinner, I think that makes her pretty incredible. Considering all she has to deal with, we know that she is much better off than most…and so does Auntie!

Auntie Ena’s first carer of the day usually comes at 10:00am but because Shay and I are leaving at 9:45am and our around-the-world size suitcases are blocking the front door of the tiny hallway, she will arrive just as we are saying our goodbyes….it’s Murphy’s Law. But I guess by saying it out loud, I jinxed it because she actually came early and Auntie was dressed and sitting in her chair when our taxi arrived. Saying goodbye to her is always very emotional but this time it was only emotional for me. She remembers exactly who I am and the life and times we’ve shared but she won’t remember it was 5 years ago that I last saw her nor will she remember this visit, until someone jogs her memory. In fact tonight, she’ll probably ask my Mum what time we’ll be home from our day out…:(

If not before, I’ll come back for her 100th birthday because right now, she is 95 yrs young and a Congratulatory Card from the Queen is Auntie’s goal. If her outlook on life and her sense of humour have anything to do with it, the postman will most definitely come knocking on her door!

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Posted September 8, 2011 by Jaclyn in Family, Memories

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