Last week, I went to see my Aunt Molly. She is my mom’s sister. Up until my mom died, they’d lived together in the house I grew up in for over 10 years.
Before that, they’d lived apart.
They didn’t really like each other.
But I know in my heart they loved each other.
I hadn’t seen my aunt for over a month. The family and I had all been sick since the middle of December and all the way through New Years Day.
So when I went to visit, I was more than shocked.
Oh, how she’s declined. A lot. I wasn’t prepared for it.
What I really wasn’t prepared for was how much in my Aunt Molly I saw my mom.
Those feelings I had when my mom was dying in a convalescent home all came FLOODING back.
I felt helpless again. Alone. Even more so. Most of my “elders” are dead. Only my Uncle Ted is left. He’s my mom and Aunt Molly’s big brother. Yes, he’s the oldest one of the bunch and he’s also in the best health.
Aunt Molly has dementia. Just like my mom. And it seems to take hold slowly at first and then really ratchets up the death grip.
I’m afraid my aunt doesn’t have much time left.
And I’m sad and feel ashamed – because I really don’t want to experience that pain and grief again.
Hell – I’m sure I haven’t fully processed my mom’s death. I know I’m still depressed and sad.
I don’t want to feel that way again.
But that’s sort of what life is, right? Episodes of euphoria followed by bouts of extreme grief. Oh, sure, most of life is just even-keeled bliss. But the extremes are tough on the psyche.
And the more pain you experience, the more numb you get to some of it and the more you try to avoid it.
Right now, I’m in “avoidance” mode. And I HATE this feeling.
But you know what? The worst part is I know I’m being selfish. I’m in self-preservation mode.
What about Aunt Molly? How does she feel?
How do her 3 kids feel?
How do her grandkids feel?
How does her brother feel?
Damn it. Death is a fucked up bitch.
Sometimes, I only think the “beneficial death” will be my own. I mean, I won’t feel any pain. I’ll be dead.
But there I go again – selfish prick.
Look, I’m not the best person in the world. I can be a real ass. But I know there are a handful of people on this planet who love me and would hurt when I leave this earth.
And that makes me sad, too. Just the thought. I don’t ever want to let anybody down.
Yet I know I can’t always deliver and I will die someday.
And in alignment with the “order of things,” I should die before my children.
I’ll be a helluva lot sadder if that doesn’t happen.
Man, life is tough.