Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vibrate For Me

I need some good vibes people. Not for me, mind you, I don't want to be greedy, but for my Aunt Rena. She's my mom's mom's sister and she's in her 90s. She lives by herself in a house that she had built many years ago (for $17,000 by the way) on top of a hill in a defunct mill town in ME. She wants to keep living there.

She's the one who took care of her mother while she was dying. She chose to do that even though it put the kibosh on the only marriage proposal she ever had. She took care of her brother-in-law and then her sister as they died, too.

Now she battles a couple of forms of cancer, brittle bones, essentially non-existent knees, some memory loss but not too much, paranoia, anxiety, congestive heart failure and some other things that I'm sure I'm forgetting. Before you tell me not to worry for her since she's clearly right at the end of her rope I will tell you this: she's had all of these things for a minimum of 5 years. When my grandmother died almost 6 years ago we all thought that the grief would kill her within a couple of years. That's where a little atheism will go a long way. She's sure that after you die there's nothing at all and she's petrified of that so she's determined not to do it.

Mom called from Rena's house tonight. They're headed to the family reunion tomorrow and will be the only 2 representatives of our branch. I am seeing that it may have been a mistake for me not to go this year, despite the cost. Rena is using 2 canes now, which makes it almost impossible for her to cook, not a good feeling for a lifelong home ec teacher. Her language is a little garbled and her anxiety has ramped up, which I wouldn't have thought possible. She either didn't go to bed until 2 this morning or she went to bed earlier and got up at 2 to get ready for my mom's arrival and their subsequent trip to the reunion, I couldn't tell which one.

I'm not asking for long life vibes. She doesn't need those, she's had a long life already. I'm looking for good end of life vibes. I fear for her living on her own now. She is adamantly against nursing home life or hospitalization, she's certain that the doctors killed my grandmother on my family's orders and she thinks that will happen to her if she goes to live in any sort of institution. However, I really think it'd suck for her to fall down the stairs (there are lots of stairs in her house) and lie there for hours suffering before someone finds her. Either situation is unthinkable.

I don't have any idea what a good end of life would be in her mind but I hope for it. Hope with me, please?


  1. Add my hopes to the pot....

  2. Anonymous7:31 PM

    My great aunt also lived alone, refused to get any medical care, as she was sure the doctors would kill her, and was demented. She ended up having a heart attack and wasn't found for a couple of days.

    If she's willing, she could get one of those emergency buttons you wear around your neck and push if you fall, etc. - the "help, I've fallen and I can't get up" things. Just an idea.