My mom and I went to visit my Aunt Dot last week. She’s 93 and lives in a nursing home. We haven’t been to see her in quite a while. The last time I was there was probably a few years ago. I started thinking about her, and started feeling horrible because she’s been sitting there for all of these years… I told my mom we were going to start going to see her once a week, because when I get old I don’t want to be left to live out the rest of my life alone in a home.
So we went to see her. It was an odd exchange. They have her pretty drugged up because she gets very aggressive (and undresses randomly…) so it was kind of hard to wake her up. She had NO idea who we were. She asked who we were and why we were there and when we explained who we were she said we were mistaken and we must be there to kill her. We insisted we weren’t and she replied, “Well, someone around here is.” Hmmm, ok. She had a stuffed animal and my mom pulled it out of her chair to ask about it. I thought Aunt Dot was going to punch her in the face and she told her to “get her own god damn bear”.
I started pulling down her pictures and showing them to her, trying to explain who we were. She knew the pictures and new who “Kathy” and “Elizabeth” were, but just couldn’t quite be convinced we were them. I talked to her about when I was little and we would bake together. She had this big tin of flour that I could put my entire arms in up to my elbows and I would bathe in the flour. I would be white as a ghost by the time we were done. She said she vaguely remembered that.
She was watching the Packers play, and she asked, “Is there was someone you know playing in the game?”
My mom said, “No, but Phil (my dad) is at home watching it.”
I said, “You know, Kathy’s husband Phil?”
To which she replied, “I thought you said SHE was Kathy!”
Gawd, this was getting confusing. We had only been there like 15 minutes, but I told my mom maybe we should go. She was just getting more agitated. We told her we’d be back the next week.
She replied, “Don’t hurry back on my account.”
“Oh, Aunt Dot, we want to come back and see you!” I insisted.
Her reply, “Well, I don’t want to see you!”
After we had left, I joked about the visit and my mom said it was always better when my brother or I went with her because we make her laugh, and if we didn’t she would just cry. I suppose at this point it’s more for our own benefit we go see her, but I’d like to think it makes a difference to her, even though we have been horrible family the last few years by not visiting her.
Last night when I got home my mom asked me if we were going to see Aunt Dot today. I said maybe we should wait another week. We wouldn’t want to ruin a good thing… or risk a beating… whatever.