Tomorrow I have to do something that I am dreading.
My aunt, who I’ve mentioned briefly here, is my mother’s sister, and is one of her few surviving relatives (I have a few cousins, the children of her brother, that I haven’t seen for years). Aunt Lois was in an automobile accident about 25 years ago, where she was t-boned by an uninsured driver, which left her with a devastating brain injury.
Without going into detail about her life since her accident, her injury affected an area of her brain which controls emotions, self control, and anger. Since the accident, and most especially since my mother died 20 years ago, my aunt has driven all of her friends away, even the most loyal, with her behavior. She yells at them, she calls them names, she won’t answer their calls.
She does that to my sister and me too.
My lovely, wonderful sister, Lisa, has tried so hard over the years, to help Aunt Lois with her life, her living situation, her finances, and more. Lisa is so much more patient than I am and has spent so much time, effort, and even money trying to help. Several years ago, because Lois was so miserable in her apartment in Los Angeles, Lisa, with Lois’ approval, arranged to move her to San Diego.
She hated it. And decided she hated Lisa. When I visited Lois, she would call my sister the most horrible names, accusing her of awful things, and screaming about how miserable her life was.
A moment here about my aunt. Before her accident, she was a funny, edgy, kind of neurotic woman, who loved animals and was not fond of men (she was straight as far as I know, she just didn’t have a high opinion of the male gender). She was an actress, a singer, who’d had some success in Hollywood. She was in a singing and dancing group called The Establishment, which had some success in the 60s and 70s. She was witty and bright, and I always thought of her as the “cool” aunt.
Now, in spite of her condition, she can still be witty and bright, funny and intelligent. She can also be rude, nasty, and mean. She loved animals before. Now she is militantly vegan, donating any extra money to animal causes (over the years I have come to share many of her opinions is this area). The smell of meat being cooked by her neighbors can drive her crazy. She yells.
I know it is not her fault.
Several years ago, she cut off all contact. She wouldn’t answer the phone or the door. She didn’t return calls. I am not proud to say that after a few tries, I stopped trying. I lived my life. I felt guilty, but I did nothing to improve our relationship. My sister got married and moved to Texas, so I was the only nearby relative, but I avoided the conflict.
Several weeks ago, Lois fell in her bathtub. She is 76 now, physically healthy because of her diet. Apparently, though, she had a urinary tract infection, became weak, and fell. She was there for over a day because, when they heard her yelling, her neighbors thought that it was just Lois being Lois.
Fortunately, she will be okay. She is very weak and is in a rehab center to get some physical and occupational therapy. I haven’t talked to her. Lisa and I have only spoken to the nurses in order to monitor her recovery.
Now, here is the deal. The owner of the apartment where Lois lives spoke to my sister the other day. She is a problem. She has taken to waking up in the middle of the night, wandering through the apartment complex, talking and yelling to herself. Her neighbors are not happy. Something is going to have to be done.
Tomorrow I will be driving to San Diego to meet my sister, who flew in from Texas (about the only bright light in my day!) We will go to the rehab center, try to meet with my aunt, and talk to her about what her options are. We have every expectation that we will be thrown out of the room. Lisa and I have no legal right to intervene. We are just trying to do the right thing by my mother’s sister.
I am dreading tomorrow. I could us some physic support.