It has been my pleasure to have my stay-at-home-life unexpectedly interrupted by a visit from my Aunt Shirley and Cousin Kim, Aunt Shirley is my mother’s sister, the lone survivor of the nine Eatons. She has always been my favorite. Several years back when she was half-mad at me for not coming to see her I was sweet-talking her and told her she was my Favorite aunt. She retorted “I’m your Only aunt.”
But she was my favorite even back when she had a lot of competition from Aunts Thelma, Clara, Almeda, and Joyce. After she chastised me, I never again went to Disney without heading over to Melbourne, and I had visited her when we were there to celebrate my birthday in February. She was living alone with significant help from her daughter and home health, and spent her days taking her dog, Leo, out for short walks.
In late March she fell, cracked her clavicle and twisted her feet in a knot that put her walking days behind her. She moved in with Kim and was total care for several weeks. During that time she shrunk down to about 100 pounds, had hallucinations, and things were looking bad. They got the hallucinations under control and started physical therapy. Increasingly, she wanted to see her “boys” who live up here in Grayville, IL, the town where Shirley grew up, about 40 miles from Sonnystone. As they worked through the really out-of-it days, she begged more and more to go back “home”.
After a couple of months, Shirley was getting a little more mobile so Kim decided try to get her on a plane and over to Illinois. They missed the first flight!, turned away at the airport because of some boarding pass fiasco. The next morning, Shirley woke up and told Kim she was going to die that day. She got on the phone and called her other four children and told them how bad she felt and that she was going to die. Well, that got their attention. Her oldest daughter flew in two days later from Texas and stayed for three days. Daughter #2, along with her daughter and grandchilren, arranged a caravan from North Carolina to Grayville for the week-end of her visit.
Later that day for the first time since her fall, Aunt Shirley got herself out of the bed and wheeled herself in to the living room where Kim sat,astounded… “I thought you were going to die today.” Shirley laughed and said, “Not Today!”
So Kim, Shirley, and Kim’s children flew into Evansville Thursday, the 11th. The family had a big party at her grandson’s old Victorian home in Grayville, the porch and lawn filled with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren on a beautiful Saturday. Everybody got along and nobody got any drunker than usual. I wasn’t there, but I’m told that at one point Shirley looked around and asked “What are all these people doing here?” and immediately answered herself, “Oh, that’s right, it’s my dying party.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Aunt Shirley came over to spend the night and I was able to see how deep her self-care deficits are (deep). As she puts it, her feet are frozen. It takes an act of great will to move them. Transfers from wheelchair are Work for anyone involved…and scary. It’s such a Big change from when I saw her just four months ago. She was still glowing from the Love at the Dying Party…or maybe it was tears from the Farewells as she left Grayville. I’m glad I got to spend some time with her.
So I’m messed up on my schedule for blogging the Sonnystone Saga. Though I have worked ahead on these articles, I still need to write up several more. When I do genealogy I end up following more people than I need to and I read the history of the times in which they lived. Fascinating stuff, but it’s also time-consuming. Gardening is prioritized over research/writing, as is cooking/eating, so I’m at least a week behind.
Cleaning the house is usually at the bottom of my priorities, but it is Officially Filthy in here, so it has surged to the top… I’ll get back to the Sonnystone Saga, publishing when I can, as I know you are waiting with bated breath for each installment, all six of you, so don’t despair. We have 50+ more years to go! I will put it on a Page soon, so you can read it in the proper order and at your leisure…
It’s a beautiful rainy day and my plants are drenched…