Wednesday, May 18, 2011

the Aunts

The telephone rang early this morning, which is unusual and startled me, unaccustomed to its invasion of my morning's quiet.

 It was one of the aunts.

"How is my sister?"

It all started when my parent's living arrangements changed. I became the main contact for all three of the aunts (pronounced ah-nts in my birth state); my father's two sisters, aged 81 and 90, and my mother's sister, aged 75. They all hail from the next state.

When Daddy first became sick and was diagnosed at the hospital, his sisters would call for updates. When he arrived at my home they would call regularly in order to speak to him.  Since his hearing was not the best I would put the setting on speaker phone and carry the phone to his bedside and thus began the so familiar conversation of brother and sister. As I heard the manner in which they carried on with each other, it would fill a portion of me that reaches down and defines family. Of course, they never failed to ask about my mother and her present condition either.

Almost weekly the voice of my mother's sister would come over the distance via phone lines wanting to know how her sister was doing. A special relationship developed with her these past months especially since she lost her only daughter back in January 2009. She has managed to displace the connection I have lost with my mother. Her voice is my mother's and my grandmother's, the females that went before me.

After Daddy died, all three of them would call quite often. I learned to position myself, grief needed like-company and the sharing of a life that had slipped from us wasn't instant like email.

As a grown daughter of my parents, I am also characterized as a grown niece of my elderly aunts. I am cognizant of the fact that they have known my father and mother longer than I have. But the history in the shared span crossed is sweet indeed.

That is why I am utterly thankful for those phone calls. The tuggings in my heart are welcomed springs as I pick the phone up to talk with any one of these three special women... the aunts.

Aunt "Easy", who will be 91 in July. I can only hope I will be as strong in body and mind as she is if I get to be her age.

Monday, May 9, 2011


We all get posed, loving on my dear mother on Mother's Day.

But of all the photos we were able to take with mother while she was visiting on Sunday, this was the only one we could get her to smile.  She gets the blankest look on her face as we busily snap pictures. We must keep saying to her,  "Smile, Smile, Keep smiling Grandma."

 I see this same blank look in pictures of her from several years back. That was before we openly talked about her disease, even though we knew it was there lurking...behind that blank look.

The bruised side of her face is from a fall she took over two weeks ago. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

fine dining choices

It is called fine dining. She has her assigned place at a table with two gentlemen, Mr. L_____ and Mr. M____.  She is given choices for food selections at lunch and dinner during the times she dines in the dining room. Her choice of a particular meat, vegetable and starch. I see her gazing ahead trying to take in what the aide is patiently saying as the choices are given.

Then she looks up into my eyes and asks, "What do I want?"

"Chicken or beef, Mama?"

It is always the first food choice mentioned that she chooses.

Quickly in my brain I am offering what I remember as her favorites first. It is good that she has these choices.